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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid