Northwestern researchers work on drug to prolong life

Benjamin Din, Digital Projects Editor

Northwestern researchers may have found a method for avoiding, or at least deterring, life’s most inevitable characteristic: aging.

Researchers in Japan who developed a new drug to prolong life have partnered with Feinberg Prof. Douglas Vaughan’s lab to bring their findings to the United States. The drug has the potential to control the pace at which one ages by blocking a protein – plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 – that is produced by aging cells, according to a Chicago Tribune article.

The drug has been successful in longevity experiments with a strain of mice, extending their lifespans by four times what is expected, according to the article.

Thus far, clinical trials involving about a dozen healthy humans have begun in Japan to test the safety of the drug. The next phase, which has yet to begin, will test the drug on a larger, non-healthy group. Through the NU partnership, researchers hope to begin clinical trials in North America by the end of 2016, according to the article.

The researchers are also competing against nearly 30 teams from across the globe for a $1 million prize sponsored by the Palo Alto Longevity Prize.

The life science competition dedicated to end aging involves two categories: restoring homeostatic capacity of an aging mammal to that of a young adult and extending a mammal’s lifespan by 50 percent. The winner of each category will receive $500,000.

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Twitter: @benjamindin

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