It might surprise you, but a common diabetes drug can slow down ageing and make us live past 120 years, claims scientists. The drug metformin which is used to control diabetes has shown positive results in extending lives of animals and researchers believe that diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can be dodged with the therapy. In addition, Food and Drug Administration, USA, has given a nod to conduct human trials next year. If everything goes well, then a person in their 70s would have the mental, physical and biological age of 50-year-old.
Professor Gordon Lithgow of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California, who will lead the study, said: “If you target an ageing process and you slow down ageing then you slow down all the diseases and pathology of ageing as well.That’s revolutionary. That’s never happened before.” He further added, “I have been doing research into ageing for 25 years and the idea that we would be talking about clinical trial in humans for an anti-ageing drug would have been thought inconceivable. But there is every reason to believe it’s possible. The future is taking the biology that we’ve developed and applying it to humans.”
A pack of 10 500mg metformin tablets costs only Rs 16 in India. Scientists are relying on its capability to boost the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell that enhances the strength and slows down ageing and makes people survive longer. Researchers have tested the effect of metformin on species of roundworm and were astonished to note that the species not only lived for a longer period of time but it lived healthier as if its biological age has started decreasing.
After the successful trial on roundworm, researchers tested the effect on a diabetes patient and found that the patient lived longer and stayed healthy. Now the trail named Targeting Ageing With Metformin, or TAME will be conducted in the US next year. For the trail to make a success, scientists from various universities are collecting funds and trying to involve about 3,000 participants aged between 70 and 80 who have or are at risk of cancer, heart disease or dementia.
Only trails can confirm the anti-ageing effect of Metformin, but the claim has generated new hope for aged people to live longer and healthier life.