Pill could help humans live longer, healthier

Man's eternal quest to discover the secret of immortality came a step closer with scientists discovering that activating a protein called Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) extended lifespan and delayed the onset of age-related diseases... so far in mice.

This breakthrough may make it possible to take a pill to ward off ageing.

According to scientists, the study regarding the action of Sirtuin 1, could lead to a promising strategy for the development of drugs that helped to keep humans younger and healthier.

Sirtuin 1 or SIRT1 and its sister protein SIRT2 are known to play vital roles in metabolism across a wide range of species.

It had also been found that drugs that enhanced SIRT1 activity slowed down the onset of ageing and delay age-associated diseases in several animal models.

The team of researchers led by Dr Rafael de Cabo, from the US National Institutes of Health, tested the impact of a small molecule, SIRT1720, that activated SIRT1, on the health and lifespan of mice.

According to researchers, SRT1720 significantly extended the average lifespan of mice by 8.8 per cent.

They also found that mice fed with the molecule weighed less and were slimmer and had better muscle function and co-ordination throughout their lives.

According to the scientists, their experiments could lead to drugs that helped to keep people younger and healthier.

SIRT1 and its sister protein SIRT2 are involved in DNA repair and gene regulation, and could help prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The researchers tested the effects of a SIRT1-activating molecule called SRT1720 on the health and lifespan of mice.

Animals were fed a standard diet supplemented with 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of SRT1720 from the age of six months.

Studies further showed that the SRT1720 supplement lowered cholesterol, which is harmful to the heart and improved insulin sensitivity, which could help prevent diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory effects were also evident in various tissues, which was important as chronic low-level inflammation was believed to contribute to ageing and age-related diseases.

According to Dr de Cabo, it was shown for the first time that a synthetic SIRT1 activator extended lifespan and improved the health-span of mice fed a standard diet.

He added, it illustrated that molecules that ameliorate the burden of metabolic and chronic diseases associated with ageing could be developed.

The research has been published in the journal Cell Reports.