Study of Centenarians Seeks to Find Good Genes to Mimic With Drugs

Mt. Sinai Hospital researchers are studying the genes of centenarians – those living to 100 – to determine if there is some genetic disposition that helped them to live that long.  The researchers would then like to come up with some medicines that could help people to remain living healthy for longer periods of time and end up with a short period of illness at the end of life.

Dr.  Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute of Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine told the New York Times earlier this year that “it should be possible to devise drugs that mimic the ones’ effects.” He said two gene based drugs are showing early promise in early tests.

Metformin is another drug we reported on before and that shows it has the ability to protect against diabetes which it is now prescribed as well as for cancer, cognitive impairment and cardiovascular disease.  Rapamycin, a drug used following organ transplants is also proving to be effective in warding off the big killing diseases.  Their studies show that green tea has little effect on life span benefits though it may have dietary benefits.

The researchers, called “geoscientists,” are trying to raise $50 million for the five year study that they are seeking.  Dr. James Kirland, author of the book, :Aging:  The Longevity Dividend,” says that “Aging is by far the best predictor of whether people will develop a chronic disease.”  The point therefore would be to develop drugs to slow down aging and ward off several diseases.