Middle aged adults could benefit from a short term treatment to revitalise the immune system and organs that deteriorate with age. Scientists have hailed the success of a clinical trial which found that experimental anti-aging drugs may protect older people from potentially fatal respiratory infections by rejuvenating their immune systems.
The trial consisted of people aged 65 and over, the participants who received the anti-aging drug combination reported nearly half the number of infections over the following year as a control group who received only placebos.
The experimental drugs used in this trial are known as mTOR inhibitors, and also appeared to boost candidate’s responses to the flu vaccine, with tests presenting 20% more flu-fighting antibodies found in the blood up to a month after the vaccine was administered.
This study’s findings are a milestone for researchers who believe that the best way to combat diseases of old age may be to design new drugs that fight the aging process itself.
Matt Kaeberlein the director of the healthy aging and longevity research institute at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study stated, “ this is an extremely important and exciting study” he added “ I think this study raises the real possibility that most middle-aged adults could benefit from short-term treatments with mTOR inhibitors.”
The drugs work by blocking events in the body that starts with the so-called ‘mechanistic target of rapamycin’, or mTOR. This is part of a group of proteins involved in the course of aging. Tests in mice have presented that experimental mTOR inhibitors can extend lifespan and rejuvenate the immune system and organs which deteriorate in old age.
The next step in the research process will be to investigate into whether the drugs work better in some groups of older people than others, an example being over 85’s or those with health conditions such as diabetes or heart failure.
Mannick the chief medical officer at a Boston-based company called resTORbio, found that the drugs boosted the immune system responses that specifically target viruses. Mannick stated, “We hope we can keep everybody healthier and with a better quality of life as they grow older.”
Joan B. Mannick, Et, al: 2018 ‘ TORC1 inhibition enhances immune function and reduces infections in the elderly.’ Science Translational Medicine 11 Jul 2018: Vol. 10, Issue 449, eaaq156