Forget the Fountain of Youth; scientists are closer than ever to creating a safe and effective anti-aging drug, it’s been revealed.
Through a series of experiments on mice, researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of New South Wales School of Medicine in Australia have discovered an essential clue as to how our cells repair damaged DNA. This is important because the body’s inability to mend DNA can result in age-related deterioration, claim the scientists.
They go on to say that when humans are young, they have great amounts of the DNA-repairing protein PARP1. As we age, however, another protein called DBC1 clings to it, rendering it impossible to finish its recon work. This makes it increasingly difficult for our systems to fix broken DNA.
In their study, the researchers fed old mice a molecule called NMN. The mice metabolized it into a signalling molecule called NAD, which squeezed in between the PARP1 and DBC1 proteins and pushed them apart. The DNA-repairing protein was then able to work effectively again, just like when the mice were younger.
“This restored the DNA capacity of the old mouse back to a young mouse, and also to remove the DNA damage that accumulated in the tissue,” said study author David Sinclair, Ph.D.
The scientists then exposed the mice to DNA-damaging radiation. The mice that were treated with the NMN molecule didn’t show the usual effects of radiation, which include changes in white blood cell counts and hemoglobin levels.
While the scientists push that the NMN treatment has only been tested in mice and that the results may be different in people, they hope to begin human trials within six months.
“This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-aging drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well,” Sinclair said.
The drug could one day serve as a treatment for preventing DNA damage from aging, radiation and even chemotherapy.
h/t Men’s Health