News / Health

    Drug Extends Life of Obese Mice

    Jessica Berman

    For most people who are morbidly overweight, the surest route to longevity would be to shed their excess kilograms. But it might one day be possible for obese individuals to enjoy longer, more healthful lives without the often difficult weight loss.   The authors of a new study report that a drug they've developed substantially increased the lifespan of obese mice.  

    In laboratory experiments, researchers injected their drug, called SRT-1720, into specially-bred mice. The drug increased the lifespan of middle-aged, obese rodents by 44 percent compared to obese mice not given the drug compound.  All the rodents were fed a high fat, sugary diet similar to a western diet.

    The research was carried out by a team of scientists led by gerontologist Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute on Aging.  

    De Cabo says SRT 1720 reduced the risks associated with obesity-related diabetes:

    “When we tested the compound at two different doses in mice on a high fat diet, we observed that this compound had tremendous beneficial effects at the level of prevention of the damage induced by the high fat diet in the liver and also in the pancreas and delayed both the onset of disease and improved the longevity of mice that were receiving this compound," said de Cabo.

    Obese mice on the lower dose of SRT 1720 lived four percent longer than untreated obese mice.  However, none of the treated obese mice lived as long as normal-weight mice that were used for comparison in the experiments.

    De Cabo says SRT-1720 activates a protein called SRT 1, which is a member of a family of enzymes within living cells called sirtuins.  These enzymes play a central role in metabolism, the chemical processes necessary for producing energy and maintaining life.   

    The beneficial effect of sirtuins varies from one individual to the next, probably for genetic reasons, the reasearchers say.  That may help explain why some people live longer than others.  In the case of obese mice, de Cabo says SRT 1720 appears to be safe and effective in promoting longevity.

    “It makes them much, much healthier," he said. "So the animals were living a much healthier life.  They have plenty of functions so they did not develop some of the impairments that are associated with age.”

    Several other experiments are underway to test drugs similar to SRT-1720 - so far, with varied results.  In some studies, SRT-1720 and similar drugs did not switch on sirtuins or produce the beneficial effect seen in de Cabo’s study.

    The drug in the latest experiments is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Sirtris, which is now planning human trials of SRT-1720 and more powerful compounds. According to de Cabo, a longevity drug could be available once Sirtris scales the federal government's regulatory hurdles.

    “I am assuming that we should be able to see something in five years maybe," said de Cabo. "It takes a long time from the original observation until al molecule can be put all the way through the clinical trials.”

    A study on the drug SRT-1720's beneficial effects in obese mice is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora