Lifespan in humans may increase by 10-20% in the future, say scientists; Work in progress

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There is no magic pill that can extend human lifespan by 80-150 years, but scientists argue that a 10-20% increase in lifespan beyond age 80 is conceivable in the future.

Backed by top billionaires, venture capitalists and an annual budget of $3 billion for the US National Institute on Aging, a number of scientific research centers and biotech companies in the US have focused on the anti-aging field, according to the Wall Street Journal reported.

Scientists have explored ways to extend people’s lifespans through drug use. Two popular drugs, metformin and rapamycin, have already shown increased lifespan in animals. Both drugs target molecular processes related to cell aging.

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Another drug, Senolytics, eliminates senescent cells from the body. Senescent cells are old cells that accumulate in tissues and damage other cells, but do not die. They lead to cognitive impairment, frailty and a lack of physical resilience.

Scientists are working on another approach called cellular reprogramming that will reverse aging and restore functions to younger cells.

However, there are a number of technical, regulatory, economic and social obstacles. For example, a drug that a healthy population would take for a long time must pass a high safety bar. But getting approval for such drugs is difficult because aging is not considered a disease to be treated by the Food and Drug Administration. Researchers need to quantify whether the drug improves health or prolongs survival in a specific age-related disease.

In 2008, GlaxoSmithKline acquired Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, which made a resveratrol drug, for $720 million. Resveratrol had been linked to longer lifespans in animals, but the pharmaceutical major was unable to manufacture effective drugs from research and closed the Sirtris unit in 2013.

Another factor to consider is that scientists will need to develop an anti-aging drug that is accessible to people of low socioeconomic status who are prone to disease.

The hope for the drug is that any such drug will reduce the risk of all diseases of aging at once, extending lifespan without debilitating conditions. the Wall Street Journal quoted James Kirkland, a gerontologist at the Mayo Clinic, as saying.

According to the researchers, even if the drug fails to prolong the longevity of life, it will improve the quality of life of the elderly and reduce health care costs.

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