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Is Easter Island drug 'elixir of life'? Rapamycin extends life by 10 years

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Easter-IslandSCIENTISTS working with prematurely-aged children have discovered a drug which seems to slow, or even stop, the body clock.

 

The findings mean an ‘elixir of life’ could soon be reality, according to the scientists.

Amazingly the drug, called rapamycin, was developed from a bacterium found in the soil on Easter Island – one of the most remote and mysterious places on the planet. 

They researchers were treating children suffering with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome – a rare disease which speeds up the aging process by about eight times.

Their damaged cells were treated with rapamycin, which has already earned the nickname 'the forever young drug', and they became healthy.

But the team also noticed the cells lifespan was significantly extended.

Their findings back initial claims that rapamycin could extend human lifespan by more than a decade.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome causes levels of a mutant protein called progerin to build up inside every cell of the body, producing defects and rapidly ageing the cells. 

Treating them with the drug flushes the poisonous protein out of the cells and reverses the process.

Progerin is also a factor in the normal ageing process and it is thought rapamycin could help turn back the clock. 

Dimitri Krainc, one of the study’s authors, said: “It is known that during ageing, our cells accumulate by-products of normal cell function. 

“Our body’s ability to remove this debris declines with ageing and it is thought that even a small activation of this ‘debris removal’ system would extend the health and life-span of our cells and organs.”


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