Moving Mitochondria DNA to the Nucleus Shown to Correlate with Longer Life and Drugs to Help People Have the Biology of Those who Live to 100 Is Coming Soon

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1. Researchers studied 17 animal species and found a strong correlation between more mitochondrial DNA in the nucleus and longer life span for a species. Moving mitochondrial DNA into the nucleus is one of the seven strategies of the SENS life extension project.

2. Several drugs that are mimicking the genetic differences of centernarians will be coming over the next few years.

Prof Barzilai’s own work at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York has identified genetic variants that mark out people who live to a “ripe old age”.

The new drugs build on these discoveries, which involve biological pathways affecting metabolism, cell-death, inflammation and cholesterol.

‘Pharmaceutical companies are developing these drugs now,’ said Prof Barzilai, who joined other experts at the Royal Society in London today for a discussion meeting on the science of ageing.

‘They will probably be available for testing from 2012.’

A subsidiary of drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is looking at sirtuins, a family of enzymes associated with a whole range of age-related diseases including type 2 diabetes and cancers.

Another key drug target is an enzyme which affects levels of “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Drugs that inhibit CETP are being developed by two other major pharmaceutical players, Merck and Roche.

A small Massachusetts biotech company, Proteostasis, is investigating a third pathway involving a the cell-growth chemical.

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