"C'Mon you apes, you wanna live forever" as Lieutenant Jean Rasczak famously said in the film Starship Troopers. Well, do you?
Then, you might want to check out of these interesting compounds and drugs currently in development.
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What is life extension?
Life extension, as the term suggests, is the process of pushing something's lifespan beyond what it would usually be. This could be for humans or any other living organism imaginable.
"Life extension is the idea of extending the human lifespan, either modestly – through improvements in medicine – or dramatically by increasing the maximum lifespan beyond its generally settled limit of 125 years. The ability to achieve such dramatic changes, however, does not currently exist," according to Wikipedia.
Are life extension products good?
If something could extend life or at least delay aging, you would probably define this as "good" by its very nature. After all, your quality of life in your more senior years is of vital importance.
There are many products on the market that claim to be anti-aging or explicitly life-extending. If these have not been passed by medical regulatory bodies, like the FDA, you should take these kinds of claims with a pinch of salt.
But there are some drugs that are currently in development that appear backed by scientific study to extend life or at least slowdown aging.
Beyond the development of new compounds and drugs, other research is currently being undertaken to explore gene editing, use of nanotechnology and machine learning to help uncover potential other avenues to explore.
When will life extension be possible?
There are currently various drugs, and other treatments, in development that promise to extend life. Like any new drug, these need extensive tests to ensure they are safe for human use.
But there are many scientists out there who are confident that they will be able to extend human lifespans beyond 120 years. As to when they will materialize only time will tell.
What are some examples of life extended compounds?
Here are some current, and past, developments that appear to show life extension might indeed be possible.
1. This life-extended compound was inspired by red wine
A compound called resveratrol that is commonly found in red wine, has been found to extend life in mice. The same team who made the discovery have also developed a drug that works the same way.
It appears to have all the benefits for resveratrol, but could also help with a debilitating disease like diabetes.
2. You can thank worms for this life-extending compound
A compound has been developed that could help extend life. This new drug was inspired by discoveries into life-extending pathways in worms.
In worms, this compound (well enzyme-blocking molecule) can extend the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms by as much as 45 percent. Humans also have a similar pathway that could benefit from these findings.
3. Two new compounds could help stop aging
Two naturally occurring compounds have been found that, when combined, appear to be able to remove aging cells from the body. Not only that, but they do so without any apparent, as yet, harmful side effects.
The compounds seem to work by disrupting cellular senescence which is a contributor to the aging process and some diseases. This natural process prevents aging cells from dividing, allowing them to build up in the body without producing new cells.
4. Two other compounds have been found that could help slow down aging and fight cancer
Two compounds, Tocotrienols, and Quercetin have been shown to help extend life. The former, a member of the vitamin E family appears to shut down cancer cells and slow aging in healthy tissues.
When combined with Quercetin and Tocotrienols, these compounds clear the body of aging cells. They also both complement one another in forcing cancer cells to die off.
5. These compounds could slow down the development of Alzheimer's
Scientists at the Salk Institute have found some compounds that slow down aging in mice and could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease. Called geroneuroprotectors (GNPs), these compounds improve memory and reduce hallmark toxicities associated with AD.
Preclinical studies are ongoing with a view to taking the two most promising compounds into clinical development.
6. Some more compounds that could extend-life
A compound called rapamycin or sirolimus has garnered a lot of interest in the last few years. It appears to have the amazing ability to extend-life and help fight some diseases.
This could have long-ranging impacts on future drug developments in humans.
7. This plant-based could help extend-life
A new study has shown or appears to show, that certain plant extracts show signs of being effective anti-aging compounds.
"As the authors report in Oncotarget, one of these compounds – a specific extract of willow bark (Salix alba) – is the most potent longevity-extending pharmacological intervention ever described in [the] scientific literature. In testing, the willow bark extract increased the average chronological lifespan of yeast by 475 percent and the maximum chronological lifespan by 369 percent," according to science alert.
8. This drug can extend life in mice
Some researchers have identified a novel class of drugs that delayed several age-related symptoms in mice. Their results demonstrate the ability of the approach to find compounds with the potential to extend healthy life.
Called senotherapeutics, these drugs specifically combat senescent cells - much like other life-extending compounds detailed above.
9. These compounds extend the life of yeast by 70%
Back in 2003, a team of scientists found some compounds that extend the life of yeast by 70%. They also appear to be able to help protect cultured human cells that were exposed to radiation.
"The molecules belong to a family of chemicals known as polyphenols, some of which are prominent components of grapes, red wine, olive oil, and other foods," according to Science.
10. This coenzyme can help extend-life
A coenzyme called Q10 has been shown to extend life. It is very common in animals and most bacteria and is currently sold as a dietary supplement.
It works by stimulating the health benefits that can occur from intermittent fasting.
11. The life-extending compound is common in fruits and nuts
Pterostilbene is a stilbenoid chemically related to resveratrol mentioned above. It can commonly be found in plants as a defense mechanism and is common in almonds, blueberries, grape leaves, and vines.
This compound has been shown to have some important life-extending properties.
12. Could using telomerase help stop aging?
Some interesting research has shown that using the enzyme telomerase could be used to help telomere shortening. Whilst promising, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.
13. This drug seems to be able to help leukemia and lung disease
A new drug, currently undergoing trials, has been shown to help clear out senescent cells and extend-life. The drug, called Dasatinib and Quercetin, showed promising results in a recent trial.
"By the end of the trial, the patients were reportedly able to walk farther than they could previously in the same amount of time and other signs of improved well being — all without any serious side effects," notes Futurism.
14. This off-label drug could help stave off old age
A drug called Metformin could be able to help slow down the aging process. A doctor in Queens, New York, has been experimenting with it on his willing patients.
The off-label drug appears to show some signs of anti-aging amongst his volunteers but much more work would need to be done.
15. This drug helps clear the body of zombie cells
A medical trial of a group of compounds called senolytics is currently underway that could help with the aging process. The trial is currently on mice, but its findings are encouraging for future age-delaying drugs of the future.