Immortality in pill no longer science fiction - researcher

SYDNEY — Man’s search for immortality is another step closer to reality with a major breakthrough in creating a drug capable of fighting the aging process -- a drug that could be available before 2018 -- after pioneering work led by an Australian researcher with the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

SYDNEY — Man’s search for immortality is another step closer to reality with a major breakthrough in creating a drug capable of fighting the aging process -- a drug that could be available before 2018 -- after pioneering work led by an Australian researcher with the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The study led by Professor David Sinclair, from UNSW Medicine, has revealed that a single anti-aging enzyme in the body has the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend lifespans. The paper released this month, shows all of the 117 drugs tested work on the single enzyme through a common mechanism.  This consequences are far-ranging and suggest that an entirely new class of anti-aging drugs are now viable.  Drugs that could ultimately prevent the great disease’s of our lifetime -- from cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even the burden of modern lifestyles -- type 2 diabetes. “Ultimately, these drugs would treat one disease, but unlike drugs of today, they would prevent 20 others,” Professor Sinclair said. “In effect, they would slow aging,” he added.

Trials focusing on a series of maladies have shown promise already, and the list is a veritable who’s who of the great disease’s of the 21st century. These range from cancer, cardiovascular disease and cardiac failure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, fatty liver disease, cataracts, osteoporosis, muscle wasting, sleep disorders and through to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.  “In the history of pharmaceuticals, there has never been a drug that tweaks an enzyme to make it run faster,” said Professor Sinclair, a geneticist with the Department of Pharmacology at UNSW.

The technology was sold to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in 2008.Four thousand synthetic activators, which are 100 times as potent as a single glass of red wine, have been developed with the best three in human trials today.

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