This anti-aging pill could be the answer for everyone, even cancer survivors and astronauts.
Anti-aging has been on the minds of humans for a long time, despite the fact that humans’ life expectancy has doubled that of our near-ancestors; or, perhaps, our interest in anti-aging has increased because we now live longer. As we age, our ever-replicating cells begin to die faster than they are being produced, resulting in our decreasing ability to recover from any wear and tear our body goes through. Depending on our DNA and how well we take care of our bodies, our cells can die sooner or later than the average person.
The University of New South Wales has been working on figuring out how to repair damaged cells that are a result of aging and radiation, which is a serious problem for both astronauts, people that undergo radiation treatments for cancer, and those that frequently travel or are subject to many x-rays because of some chronic illness.
In a nutshell, the ‘call signaling’ molecule is called NAD+ and its diminishing level in every cell of the body is what leads to mitochondrial deterioration. It possesses a key role in protein interactions, which control DNA repair, so researchers turned towards boosting NAD+ to repair cells. When treating mice with NMN, a NAD+ booster, the results showed an improvement in the cells’ ability to repair the damaged DNA, essentially reversing the effects of aging.
“This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well. In the study, cells of old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice after just one week of treatment,” said lead author Professor David Sinclair.
NASA’s interest was piqued when hearing about the positive results of these mice trials because their astronauts are exposed to cosmic radiation during even short trips into space. On their short missions, astronauts experience accelerated aging due to their exposure and return with muscle weakness, memory loss and other symptoms. On longer trips, such as those to Mars, these health problems would only worsen, causing 5 percent of their cells to die and increasing their risk of getting cancer to nearly 100 percent.
In NASA’s iTech competition at the end of last year, Professor Sinclair and his team won the entire competition out of 300 entries. With the success in treatment of mice, the human trials are set to begin within the next 5 months, which could mean that this could be on the market very soon.