Experimental drug no Methuselah formula

Compound lets mice live healthier, but not longer, lives

12:53pm, February 27, 2014

An experimental compound helps mice stay healthy longer, but it doesn’t extend their lives.

The substance, known as SRT1720, is intended to mimic the effects of caloric restriction. Scientists have found that calorie restriction can greatly stretch the life span of a wide variety of organisms, including dogs, mice, rats, fruit flies, worms and yeast. Proteins known as sirtuins are necessary for calorie restriction’s life-span extension, with a protein called sirtuin 1, or SIRT1, getting the most attention.

Strict calorie diets aren’t for everybody, and scientists have been searching for ways to mimic calorie restriction’s effect in pill or supplement form. Researchers have used a chemical found in red wine and other foods to turn on SIRT1's antiaging activity. But that chemical, resveratrol, probably does lots of other things in the body too.

So scientists turned to SRT1720 because it activates SIRT1 without appearing to affect other proteins.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from this issue of Science News