New drug has potential to target diseases that cause accelerated aging

Rebecca Savransky, Campus Editor

Northwestern Medicine scientists developed a new experimental drug with the potential to treat diseases that cause accelerated aging, including chronic kidney diseases, diabetes and HIV infection.

The scientists’ study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved testing the drug on a mouse model of accelerated aging and was successful in inhibiting the effects of a specific protein that plays a role in cell and physiological aging.

“A drug like this could help reduce complications in clinical conditions that reflect accelerated aging,” said Dr. Douglas Vaughan, senior author of the study, in a news release. “This had a very robust effect in terms of prolonging life span.”

The mice given the experimental drug lived four times longer than the control group, researchers found. The drug also proved effective in protecting the lungs and vascular systems in the mice from accelerated aging.

Vaughan said the drug’s use could be extended in the future to target human diseases.

“It makes sense that this might be one component of a cocktail of drugs or supplements that a person might take in the future to extend their healthy life,” Vaughan said in the release.

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