Rapamycin, also known as the “forever young drug”, can help stop or reverse the aging effects and may possibly be a first step in curing a terrible disease like Progeria. A new study presented in the Science Translational Medicine, showed that the premature aging drug can extend the life for patients with Progeria as well as for people with a good general health state, Medical News Today informs.
The drug called Rapamycin is obtained from a substance found in the soil of Easter Island. It is also known as Sirolimus and, according to the scientists, it can reverse the effects of premature aging. Some say that it can do even more than that: it can add up to 10 years to our life. Sirolimus was first administered as an antifungal agent. Then it was administered after organ transplants because of its immunosuppressant characteristics, in order to prevent the rejection of the new organs. Its quality of inhibiting the cell growth led to detailed research.
First discovered in Rapa Nui, Easter Island, the substance is a result of the bacterium called Streptomyces hygroscopicus. It was first tested on mice in the lab and it has proven to be effective in extending their lifespan.
The latest study in the field was conducted on childred with Progeria (Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome), a genetic condition in which the cells in the body accumulate a great quantity of a protein called Progerin, that causes accelerated aging. This way, people with Progeria age 10 times faster than normal. So by the time a person reaches 10 year of age, the body is and feels like 100 years.
Rapamycin inhibits the accumulation of Progerin, which delays the effects of aging, adding a significative amount of time to the lifespan of these children. The researchers have concluded their study report by saying: “Our findings suggest an additional mechanism for the beneficial effects of rapamycin on longevity and encourage the hypothesis that rapamycin treatment could provide clinical benefit for children with HGPS.” One of the authors of the study, Dr. Francis Collins says: “ We found it pretty exciting that this drug has such a profoundly positive effect on cell cultures .”
Progeria affects 1 in every 8 million babies. The risk of the disease is the same regardless of the sex, ethnicity, or geographical localization. The signs don’t show up from the beginning, leaving parents thinking they have a perfectly healthy and normal baby. By the age of 12 months, the symptoms start showing. They include aging of the skin, hair loss, weight loss, atheroscletosis, hip dislocation and many more. The lifespan for those affected is between 8 and 13 years old.
For starters, Rapamycin treatment could add at least 10 years to their life.