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  • The Next Big Thing For Humanity: The First Anti-Aging Drug. But Wait A Minute. Last Year It Was A Nutraceutical.

    July 14, 2014: by Bill Sardi

    The prospect of the world’s first FDA-approved anti-aging drug is now being discussed (again).  Researchers, writing in the journal AGING CELL point to a survival gene, Sirtuin1 (sir-two-in), as the molecular target to achieve extended healthspan and lifespan and a synthetic drug, SRT2014 (Sirtris Pharmaceuticals) that docks-up to that gene to produce health benefits similar to those achieved with restricted calorie diets.

    The first report of aged lab animals maintaining bone (averting osteoporosis) and muscle mass (averting sarcopenia) throughout their lifetime by taking an oral Sirtuin1 activating pill are now reported with the prospect of doing the same in humans. Researchers claim animal experiments demonstrate “that it is possible to design a small molecule that can slow aging and delay multiple age-related diseases in mammals.”  [Aging Cell June 16, 2014]

    Harvard Medical School-based researchers have just recently published a paper that says “a medicine that prevents and treats multiple age-related disease is scientifically possible.”

    They say that while conclusive evidence is elusive because that would require a decades-long study in humans, that in regard to drugs that slow aging, “we are closer than ever.”  [Trends Pharmacological Sciences March 2014]

    They, like other researchers, point to the Sirtuin1 survival gene as the target for small molecules to produce super longevity.  They note that “there is now overwhelming evidence that sirtuin genes underlie at least some of the salient health benefits of a calorie restricted diet” which is known to double the lifespan of laboratory animals.

    The Harvard investigators say “only 10 years ago the idea that a drug could treat one disease and prevent a dozen others was considered fanciful by many scientists.  Today, however, the abundant data showing that multiple diseases of aging can be prevented (and in some cases reversed) by small molecules in rodents and primates, this possibility seems within reach.”

    But just how close are they?

    At the same time researchers say that while “there is a long road ahead” and that “developing an approved drug is a serious challenge, arguably more difficult and certainly more expensive than the work done to date,” it is close to becoming a reality.

    Incongruously, researchers say the synthetic SRT2014 drug that targets the Sirtuin1 gene will first be developed for specific diseases rather than an elixir to slow aging.  The day when adults can walk into a doctor’s office and be diagnosed with “premature aging” and receive a prescription for a Sirtuin1-activating drug may still be many years from becoming a reality.

    Parenthetically, the dosage of SRT2014 employed was 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which would be equivalent to 7000 milligrams in a 154-lb human (about 7 pills a day).  So the practicality and cost of such an anti-aging regimen is dubious.  The more pills someone has to take the less compliant they will be.

    Have the masses launched their own experiment with resveratrol pills?

    These researchers say they have proven “aging isn’t the irreversible affliction that we thought it was” and that “this is not weak evidence.” [Telegraph UK March 10, 2013]

    The Harvard scientists go on to say: “knowing these challenges, millions of people have chosen not to wait for an approved drug, taking daily a Sirtuin1 activator in the form of resveratrol, partaking in one of the largest uncontrolled experiments in the history of aging research.”

    They mistakenly claim “two-thirds of the people in the USA who consume multiple dietary supplements consume resveratrol.”  [Trends Pharmacological Sciences March 2014]

    But this author’s best guesstimation is that only ~70,000 out of 50 million Americans over age 50 (less than 1%) take resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trol) pills.

    Has any drug topped resveratrol yet?

    Paradoxically these Harvard researchers concede, even though they extol the SRT2014 Sirtuin1-activating drug, that “of all the Sirtuin1 activators discovered to date, resveratrol is still the most potent in vitro (in a lab dish).”  So why should humanity wait for their synthetic drug?

    What these researchers are really saying is that the scientific community isn’t going to give its blessing, nor will Big Pharma and the FDA launch trials and approve, nor will doctors begin to prescribe an anti-aging pill until they have all figured out how to cash in on this development.

    The science is right but the financial incentives aren’t.  And it is Big Pharma that controls the news media and physicians who sway their patients.  The pharmaceutical/physician cabal wants to control the market for the biggest blockbuster drug ever conceived.  This fact no news reporter will put in print.

    On the one hand they are saying resveratrol is the best Sirtuin1 activator ever tested, but “we can engineer even better molecules that more precisely and effectively trigger the effects of resveratrol.” [Telegraph UK March 10, 2013]  It’s like they are talking out of two sides of their mouth.

    It was just last year that the same Harvard Medical School researchers cleared up an ongoing controversy and reported that resveratrol does provide anti-aging benefits via its ability to activate the Sirtuin1 gene. [Science March 8, 2013]

    “In the history of pharmaceuticals, there has never been a drug that binds to a protein to make it run faster in the way that resveratrol activates SIRT1,” the lead Harvard researcher said in Marcy of 2013 in a CBS News report.  [CBS News March 11, 2013]  There, they said it – never a drug better than resveratrol!

    More researchers say an anti-aging pill is at hand

    Researchers at the Buck Institute on Aging have also recently commented that three relatively recent developments now promise to make an anti-aging pill a reality.  They say the oncoming tsunami of senior adults living with chronic age-related disease combined with dramatic progress in aging research and the discovery of small molecules such as resveratrol that can delay aging in animals will fast-forward this idea.

    They too say these molecules will have to be altered into patentable drugs that are approved to treat diseases of aging rather than aging itself.  With decades-long human studies needed to provide conclusive evidence, they say it would be more feasible to examine whether anti-aging drugs can reduce biomarkers of aging in humans.  [Translational Research May 2014]

    To that end, the makers of Longevinex®, a resveratrol-based nutraceutical, have launched a human trial of their product among adults to measure red blood cell width, a marker of human mortality. [Annals Internal Medicine March 23, 2009]

    A nutraceutical that out-performs plain resveratrol has already been formulated and tested.  The Longevinex® nutraceutical was reported to activate 9-times more longevity genes than resveratrol or a calorie-restricted diet in rodents [Experimental Gerontology Sept 2008]; work 295% better than plain resveratrol at stimulating the Sirtuin3 gene that is linked with human longevity [ June 30, 2011; Canadian Journal Physiology Pharmacology Nov 2010]; and inhibits another gene to produce a more powerful longevity effect than resveratrol or niacin-like drugs. [ May 31, 2014; PLoS One Dec 2010]

    Why wait for a drug that may not work as well or as safely?  ©2014 Bill Sardi,

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