Nicknamed the "forever young drug" , Rapamycin, which was created from a substance found in the soilof Easter Island, has been found to have potential for reversingthe effects of premature aging, and could even help extend ourlifespans by ten years, researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine . Rapamycin , also known as Sirolimus , is an immunosuppressant medication used to prevent rejectionafter organ transplantations. It is commonly used after kidneytransplants. It is a macrolide antibiotic and was first discovered in Rapa Nui, Easter Island, hence itsname. It is a product of the bacterium Streptomyces hygroscopicus. |
It was originally developed as an antifungal agent. However, assoon as its immunosuppressive and cell growth inhibiting(antiproliferative) properties were discovered, scientists focusedon those two areas instead. In laboratory experiments, it has beenshown to extend the lifespans of mice. Experts believe it may alsobe useful for treating certain cancers.
In this latest study, Rapamycin was used on children with HGPS(Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome), a devastating geneticcondition in which the child ages quickly and reaches old-age bythe time they are 12 years old. The accelerated aging is caused byan accumulation in every cell in the body of a protein calledProgerin. The scientists explained that Rapamycin got rid of the progerin inthe cells, leaving them healthy. HGPS is a very rare disease.
According to the NIH (NationalInstitutes of Health), approximately 100 cases have been documentedover the last 100 years. Co-author and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, said: "We found it pretty exciting that this drug has such a profoundlypositive effect on cell cultures. The ability to understand themolecular basis [of diseases] and develop targeted therapies makesthis a very exciting time to be a physician." The researchers concluded in an Abstract in the journal: "Our findings suggest an additional mechanism for the beneficialeffects of rapamycin on longevity and encourage the hypothesis thatrapamycin treatment could provide clinical benefit for childrenwith HGPS." Progeria Progeria affects children, who age much faster than they should.
There aredifferent forms of Progeria; Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome(HGPS) is the most common. The condition was first described in anacademic journal in 1886 by Dr. Jonathan Hutchinson (England), andthen in 1897 by Dr. Hastings Gilford (England). It is estimated that between 1 newborn in every 4 to 8 million hasProgeria.
Both sexes have the same risk. Progeria rates appear tobe the same all over the world, regardless of race, geographicallocation, or ethnic group. Babies with Progeria are born looking healthy. At the age of about10 to 24 months they start showing signs of accelerated aging,which may include: Aging skin Failure to grow Generalized atherosclerosis Hair loss Joint stiffness Loss of body fat Hip dislocation Stroke Patients with Progeria die between 8 and 21 years of age (average13 years).
Virtually all patients die from heart disease . Patients commonly have cardiovascular problems, such as angina , stroke, hypertension ( high blood pressure ), enlarged heart, and heart failure - all of them are conditions associated with aging. Experts have always said that any breakthrough in Progeriatreatment would probably have results which would also benefitadults with diseases associated with aging. Specialists say that it is unlikely that Progeria is an inheriteddisease.
It is probably due to a rare genetic change which happensrandomly. Non-twin siblings of a child with Progeria have the samerisk of developing the condition as any other child outside thefamily. However, in approximately 1 in every 100 cases of HGPS, thesyndrome may be passed down to the next generation. "Rapamycin Reverses Cellular Phenotypes and Enhances Mutant ProteinClearance in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome Cells" K.
Cao, J. J. Graziotto, C. D. Blair, J.
R. Mazzulli, M. R. Erdos,D. Krainc, F.
S. Collins Sci. Transl. Med. 3, 89ra58 (2011).
Written by Christian Nordqvist Copyright: Medical News Today Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today Additional References Citations.
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