Israeli scientists have found a way to increase the life expectancy of mice by 23 percent in groundbreaking research that they will hopefully replicate in humans – who could then reach an average age of 120 years.
The Researchers increased the life expectancy of 250 rodents by increasing their supply of SIRT6, a protein that normally declines with aging, the Times of Israel reported.
In the peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature Communications The scientists also said the protein-fortified animals were less prone to cancer.
« The change in life expectancy is significant considering that an equivalent jump in human life expectancy would mean that we average to almost 120 live. » Prof. Haim Cohen of Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan told the news agency.
« The changes we have seen in mice can be carried over to humans, and if so, that would be exciting, » added Cohen , whose laboratory is working to identify drugs with which the SIRT6 can be safely treated in humans.
In 2012, he was the first researcher to increase protein levels in animals and increase life expectancy. Male mice lived 15 percent longer, but this experiment had no effect on female mice, according to the Times of Israel.
The most recent study, in which Prof. Rafael de Cabo of the US National Institutes of Health participated, showed the increased life expectancy Mice of both sexes.
But it’s bigger in men, who now live 30 percent longer than men in a control group. According to the report, the women live 15 percent longer than their control groups.
The scientists saw that aging mice lose the ability to produce energy because of the difficulty in obtaining energy from fats and lactic acid.
Older mice with one however, high levels of SIRT6 could easily generate energy from these sources – and would have lower cholesterol, lower cancer incidence, and could also run faster. “This discovery shows that SIRT6 controls the rate of healthy aging. and this shows that increasing its activity could potentially slow aging. Cohen said.
Although he could easily increase SIRT6 levels in mice through genetic modification, increasing protein in humans would require medication.
Cohen said his lab may be able to produce the results Humans can reproduce in two to three years.
« We’re developing small molecules that can raise SIRT6 levels or make existing amounts of the protein more active, » he said. « They can be used in the future to address aging. »
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