The compound rapamycin was shown to increase the lifespan of mice by an average of three to four months, which is the equivalent of 10 human years.
“Rapamycin is an immunosuppressant, anti-fungal and anti-cancer macrolide compound from Streptomyces hygroscopicus that acts by selectively blocking the transcriptional activation of cytokines, thereby inhibiting cytokine production,” Saad AlSogair, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, tells Cosmetic Surgery Times.
Dr. AlSogair, whose research and experiments with mice were presented in November at the 2016 American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine Congress (AAAMC) in Las Vegas, says that rapamycin exerts its anti-aging effects “by binding and inhibiting the activation of the mammalian Target Of Rapamycin (mTOR), a key regulatory kinase in aging and age-related diseases.”
mTOR inhibition in mice demonstrated a decrease in NADPH oxidase (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase) 4 expression and a reduction in superoxide/reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation.
“In these mice studies, rapamycin treatment increases life expectancy by up to 60%,” Dr. AlSogair says. The effect seemed to be more pronounced in females.
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“Rapamycin has a variety of effects that might contribute to longevity, including modulating stem cell function, promoting autophagy, slowing cognitive decline, and alleviating mice models of heart failure and neurodegeneration,” Dr. AlSogair says.
Rapamycin also demonstrated prevention of age-related weight gain and suppression of carcinogenesis.
The compound is already used in humans as a transplant rejection inhibitor, therapy for renal cell carcinoma and as a stent coating.
Currently, there are two ongoing human trials of rapamycin in older adults:
Effect of Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Inhibition and Other Metabolism Modulating Interventions on the Elderly: Immune, Cognitive, and Functional Consequences
Exercise and Low-Dose Rapamycin in Older Adults With CAD: Cardiac Rehabilitation And Rapamycin in Elderly (CARE) Trial
“More clinical trials should be done to ascertain the efficacy and safety of rapamycin as an anti-aging agent,” Dr. AlSogair says.