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Rapamycin Trials May Lead to Longer Life for Dogs

Rapamycin is being tested for increasing longevity in dogs.

Researchers at the University of Washington Medical Center are researching whether the drug rapamycin can be used to extend dogs' life spans.

What Is Rapamycin?

Rapamycin was discovered in the late 1960s. It was isolated as a compound produced by bacteria found in the soil of Easter Island. It was found to suppress the immune system and is used in organ transplant patients to reduce rejection.

How Could Rapamycin Work to Increase a Dog's Life Span?

Rapamycin interferes with the cell reproduction process, which may have applications for fighting cancer. It also may cause slower aging. The drug also improves the body's waste removal processes, which keeps these toxins from affecting healthy cells.

Studies in mice indicate that the drug can slow aging, improve cardiac and cognitive function, and delay death.

The study in dogs will hopefully tell us whether these special effects can translate to species other than mice.

Could Humans Live Longer by Taking Rapamycin?

At this point, it's too early to tell whether there may be human longevity-related applications for rapamycin. The side effects may not outweigh any benefits, and there would need to be a lot more research.

However, because dogs age faster than humans, research can be done more quickly on them. If the dog trials show promise for increasing life span, the door may be opened to researching this aspect of the drug on humans, as well.

You can find more details about this important study here:

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