Metformin For Protection Against Alzheimer's, Cancer And Heart Disease?
With commentary by Nir Barzilai, MD, director of the Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Brian Kennedy, PhD, president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Metformin may influence fundamental aging factors that underlie many age-related conditions, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's, says Nir Barzilai, MD, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Bronx. "Metformin is generic, and it's cheap," Dr. Barzilai says. And accumulating data suggests that ''it interferes with the biology of aging." Aging, he says, is a primary risk factor for not only diabetes but also most of our big killers, such as Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer. In animal and human studies, metformin has shown promise in slowing the aging process and halting diseases. To study the potential of metformin further, Dr. Barzilai plans to launch a large-scale study, Targeting Aging with METformin (TAME), to look at the effects of metformin compared to placebo. His team has already completed the MILES study, Metformin in Longevity, and are analyzing the results. In that study, they gave some participants metformin, at 1,700 milligrams a day, and others placebo. The aim was to see if the metformin could restore the gene expression profile of an older person with blood sugar problems known as impaired glucose tolerance (but not yet diabetic), to that of a younger person. Dr. Barzilai knows he has critics of his approach. He brushed them off, saying the people who don't see the value of the research ''don't understand the biology of aging and that it can be changed." He doesn't see the research as testing an anti-aging drug. "Aging is not a disease and we don't want it to be a disease," he says. Howe Continue reading >>
Could A Pill Put The Brakes On Aging?
March 29, 2017 -- The No. 1 risk factor for all the big diseases -- cancer , heart disease , Alzheimer’s -- is aging. But instead of treating the diseases, could a drug treat the aging process itself? That’s the idea behind a growing area of research drawing extensive support from both government and private donors, including millions from Silicon Valley executives like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. While federal science agency budgets have struggled in the past decade, funding at the National Institute on Aging has risen more than 50% since 2007. Researchers are seeking a drug to push back the most serious consequences of aging -- and keep people healthy, active, and alert years longer, a notion they call “health span.” “I’m not interested in creating a population that lives to be 200, because that would be a problem for the world we live in,” says Corinna Ross, PhD, a biologist at Texas A&M University in San Antonio. “But if we can keep people out of nursing home care and reduce the number of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients, that would be ideal.” What scientists know about aging has advanced sharply in the past 2 decades as they learn more about what drives the aging process within cells. With the race on to find an anti-aging pill, two of the most promising ones are drugs that already exist: metformin and rapamycin. Doctors have prescribed metformin, the most common drug to treat type 2 diabetes , for about 60 years. But it’s received new attention as a possible anti-aging drug after researchers in Britain found that people with diabetes who took it outlived some of their peers who did not have the disease by 15%. “They compared them to a whole bunch of people who were matched for weight and smokin Continue reading >>
How Metformin Might Slow Down Aging In Humans | Asian Scientist Magazine | Science, Technology And Medical News Updates From Asia
How Metformin Might Slow Down Aging In Humans Metformin might be able to prevent aging in human cells by acting through the Nrf2-GPx7 pathway, researchers say. AsianScientist (Apr. 27, 2018) In a study published in Aging Cell, researchers in China have shown that the diabetes drug metformin can extend the lifespan of human cells in vitro. Metformin is an FDA-approved drug that has been used for over 60 years to treat type 2 diabetes. In recent years, metformin has been shown to extend the lifespan in some animal models. However, whether metformin can suppress human cellular aging and the mechanisms underlying its probable effects in humans remain unclear. In the present study, a team of researchers led by Professors Wang Chihchen and Liu Guanghui at the Institute of Biophysics of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) found that chronic low-dose metformin treatment delays aging in human cells, specifically diploid fibroblasts and mesenchymal stem cells. Previous research by the same group showed that a protein called endoplasmic reticulum-localized glutathione peroxidase 7 (GPx7) is a key enzyme involved in regulating protein folding and maintaining redox homeostasis. The researchers found that low-dose metformin treatment upregulates the expression of endoplasmic reticulum-localized GPx7 by activating a transcription factor called Nrf2. The levels of GPx7 decrease as cells age and knocking down GPx7 accelerated the process of aging, the researchers said. Interestingly, the metformin-Nrf2-GPx7 axis is known to be involved in worm aging and the worm ortholog of human GPx7 is required for the positive effects of metformin on life span extension in worms. Taken together, these results highlight the importance of the Nrf2-GPx7 pathway in pro-longevity signaling and provide furt Continue reading >>
Feature: The Man Who Wants To Beat Back Aging
Feature: The man who wants to beat back aging On a blazingly hot morning this past June, a half-dozen scientists convened in a hotel conference room in suburban Maryland for the dress rehearsal of what they saw as a landmark event in the history of aging research. In a few hours, the group would meet with officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a few kilometers away, to pitch an unprecedented clinical trialnothing less than the first test of a drug to specifically target the process of human aging. We think this is a groundbreaking, perhaps paradigm-shifting trial, said Steven Austad, chairman of biology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR). After Austads brief introductory remarks, a scientist named Nir Barzilai tuned up his PowerPoint and launched into a practice run of the main presentation. Barzilai is a former Israeli army medical officer and head of a well-known study of centenarians based at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. To anyone who has seen the ebullient scientist in his natural laboratory habitat, often in a short-sleeved shirt and always cracking jokes, he looked uncharacteristically kempt in a blue blazer and dress khakis. But his practice run kept hitting a historical speed bump. He had barely begun to explain the rationale for the trial when he mentioned, in passing, lots of unproven, untested treatments under the category of anti-aging. His colleagues pounced. Nir, interrupted S. Jay Olshansky, a biodemographer of aging from the University of Illinois, Chicago. The phrase anti-aging has an association that is negative. I wouldnt dignify them by calling them treatments, added Michael Pollak, director of cancer prevention a Continue reading >>
Metformin As A Tool To Target Aging
2Wake Forest Older Americans Independence Center and the Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA 2Wake Forest Older Americans Independence Center and the Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA 1Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA 2Wake Forest Older Americans Independence Center and the Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Cell Metab See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Aging has been targeted by genetic and dietary manipulation and by drugs in order to increase lifespan and health span in numerous models. Metformin, which has demonstrated protective effects against several age-related diseases in humans, will be tested in the TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin) trial, as the initial step in the development of increasingly effective next-generation drugs. Over the past decades, remarkable progress has occurred in the science of aging in model organisms. Studies have demonstrated that genetic pathways modulate healthy lifespan in diverse species across great evolutionary distance and established that aging-related pathways constitute a target for intervention ( Barzilai et al., 2012 ; Longo et al., 2015 ). Lifespan has been verifiably modulated by genetic, pharmacologic, and dietary interventions in multiple model systems. With support from an R24 grant from the NIA (J. Kirkland, N.B., S. Austad), we gathered gerontologists with expertise in the biology of aging and in clinical geriatrics to discuss ways to target aging in humans. This effort resulted in the design of the study Targeting Agin Continue reading >>
Metformin: Can This Diabetes Drug Slow Aging?
Metformin: Can This Diabetes Drug Slow Aging? Much of the research on aging is directed towards identifying substances to slow biological deterioration and extend lifespan. By studying how animals and humans respond to dietary restrictions as discussed in previous articles, researchers have identified several physiological pathways that influence how rapidly age-related damage accumulates. Generally, these age-modifying substances work in two ways: by stimulating pathways that slow down aging, and/or by inhibiting pathways that accelerate it. In this article, we will look at an how the diabetes drug metformin appears to slow the aging process by triggering cells to switch to an energy conservation state. (In case you missed them, check out the previous blogs in this series here: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 .) Adenosine monophosphate kinase, or AMPK, is an enzyme found in organisms (like humans) made up of cells that have mitochondria (eukaryotes). This enzyme senses energy levels in the cell, and it arose early in the evolution of eukaryotes as an adaptation to allow them to survive periods of starvation. When stimulated, AMPK switches the cell to an energy-conserving state. Let me pause and comment that starvation is an evocative term. It readily conjures images of people so emaciated that they are near death, and it is usually not associated with a healthful state. Certainly, we do not want to spend too long a period in a state of starvation. It is also likely that periods longer than 12 hours of absence from food were normal during the course of our evolution, and therefore, we have evolved mechanisms that help us deal with food absence. It also appears likely that triggering these conservation mechanisms in the right way may be a goldmine for our health. Indeed, stimulating the Continue reading >>
Worlds First Anti-ageing Drug Could See Humans Live To 120
Worlds first anti-ageing drug could see humans live to 120 Pensioners could be as healthy as 50 year olds in the future if tests on metformin perform as well as expectedCredit:ALAMY The worlds first anti-ageing drug will be tested on humans next year in trials which could see diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons consigned to distant memory. Scientists now believe that it is possible to actually stop people growing old as quickly and help them live in good health well into their 110s and 120s. Although it might seem like science fiction, researchers have already proven that the diabetes drug metformin extends the life of animals, and the Food and Drug Administration in the US has now given the go ahead for a trial to see if the same effects can be replicated in humans. This would be the most important medical intervention in the modern era, an ability to slow ageing Dr Jay Olshansky, University of Illinois Chicago If successful it will mean that a person in their 70s would be as biologically healthy as a 50 year old. It could usher in a new era of geroscience where doctors would no longer fight individual conditions like cancer, diabetes and dementia, but instead treat the underlying mechanism ageing. Scottish ageing expert Professor Gordon Lithgow of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California, is one of the study advisors. If you target an ageing process and you slow down ageing then you slow down all the diseases and pathology of ageing as well, he said Thats revolutionary. Thats never happened before. I have been doing research into ageing for 25 years and the idea that we would be talking about a clinical trial in humans for an anti-ageing drug would have been though inconceivable. But there is every reason to believe its possible. The future is taki Continue reading >>
Scientists In Mass. And Beyond Are Working To Slow The Aging Process
David Sinclair, professor of genetics and director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging, has been working on triggering an anti-aging enzyme called SIRT1. At a forum on Cape Cod earlier this month, Harvard scientist David Sinclair had the rapt attention of biotech executives and investors as he described treating 20-month-old mice with a molecule to restore their youthfulness. Before long, the geriatric rodents were outracing 2-month-old mice. Yes, Sinclair told his audience, We can turn an old mouse into a healthy young mouse. The Fountain of Rodent Youth feat, outlined in March in the scientific journal Cell, hasnt been replicated with humans. But researchers, who have long scoffed at the anti-aging claims made by companies pitching dubious products, are warming to the idea that serious science can be deployed to increase human longevity. Ambitious efforts are underway in Massachusetts and beyond to develop the first government-approved drugs to stretch healthy life spans. Some researchers are scrambling to repurpose a diabetes medicine to target age-related diseases. Others are working to boost levels of a key protein to increase blood flow and endurance, or to find a way to kill zombie cells that can send out toxins that cause age-related maladies. An afternoon recap of the days most important business news, delivered weekdays. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here These approaches and others are part of an emerging field known as geroscience. Its advocates believe that the best way to treat a variety of illnesses from cancers and heart disease to Alzheimers and macular degeneration is to attack the aging process itself. Read: Meals on Wheels more than a delivery Aging is the biggest risk factor for many diseases, said Eric Ver Continue reading >>
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Forget The Blood Of Teens. This Pill Promises To Extend Life For A Nickel A Pop
Nir Barzilai has a plan. It’s a really big plan that might one day change medicine and health care as we know it. Its promise: extending our years of healthy, disease-free living by decades. And Barzilai knows about the science of aging. He is, after all, the director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. And, as such, he usually talks about his plan with the caution of a seasoned researcher. Usually. Truth is, Barzilai is known among his colleagues for his excitability—one author says he could pass as the older brother of Austin Powers—and sometimes he can’t help himself. Like the time he referred to his plan—which, among other things, would demonstrate that human aging can be slowed with a cheap pill—as “history-making.” In 2015, he stood outside of the offices of the Food and Drug Administration, flanked by a number of distinguished researchers on aging, and likened the plan to a journey to “the promised land.” Last spring, Barzilai traveled to the Vatican to discuss the plan at a conference on cellular therapies. It was the second time he’d been invited to the conference, which is a pretty big deal in the medical world. At the last one, in 2013, he appeared alongside a dwarf from Ecuador, a member of a community of dwarfs whose near immunity to diabetes and cancer has attracted the keen interest of researchers. The 2016 conference featured a number of the world’s top cancer scientists and included addresses from Pope Francis and Joe Biden. That Barzilai was invited was a sign not only of his prominence in his field but also of how far aging research, once relegated to the periphery of mainstream science, has come in recent years. That progress has been spurred by huge investments from Sil Continue reading >>
Could Your Diabetes Medication Be The Next Anti-aging Pill?
The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. The most common treatment for type 2 diabetes a generic drug called metformin may do a lot more than just regulate insulin levels. Scientists studying its potential as an anti-aging pill say the drug slows the burn rate in living cells in ways that increase longevity. Derived from a plant called French lilac, metformin costs pennies a pill. Studies in animals suggest the drug could delay the onset of chronic diseases, such as cancer and dementia, by targeting the biology of aging, said Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of aging research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. You give it to nematodes [microscopic worms], you give it to rats, to mice they all live longer. But worms and rodents are short-lived creatures. Could metformin have the same effect in humans? Barzilai has teamed up with colleagues from more than a dozen research centres across North America to answer that question. Theyre gearing up for a US$77-million clinical trial called TAME, short for targeting aging with metformin, and plan to start recruiting 3,000 adults aged 65 to 80 in the next year or so. Barzilai predicts that people on the drug will have less disease. In observational studies , he pointed out, patients taking metformin for diabetes have shown lower rates of cancer, dementia and cardiovascular disease. But observational studies of patients taking a drug for a specific disease are very hard to interpret, said Dr. Judy Wong, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia. After all, one of the first things a physician tells a patient with type 2 diabetes is you have to change your lifestyle, said Wong, who studies how cellular change Continue reading >>
Metformin In Longevity Study (miles)
Metformin, an FDA approved first-line drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, has known beneficial effects on glucose metabolism. Evidence from animal models and in vitro studies suggest that in addition to its effects on glucose metabolism, metformin may influence metabolic and cellular processes associated with the development of age-related conditions, such as inflammation, oxidative damage, diminished autophagy, cell senescence and apoptosis. As such, metformin is of particular interest in clinical translational research in aging since it may influence fundamental aging factors that underlie multiple age-related conditions. The investigators therefore propose a pilot study to examine the effect of metformin treatment on the biology of aging in humans. Namely, whether treatment with metformin will restore the gene expression profile of older adults with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) to that of young healthy subjects. Aging in humans is a well-established primary risk factor for many disabling diseases and conditions, among them diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. In fact, the risk of death from these causes is dramatically accelerated (100-1000 fold) between the ages of 35 and 85 years. For this reason, there is a need for the development of new interventions to improve and maintain health into old age - to improve "healthspan". Several mechanisms have been shown to delay the aging process, resulting in improved healthspan in animal models, including mammals. These include caloric restriction, alteration in GH/IGF1 pathways, as well as use of several drugs such as resveratrol (SIRT1 activator) and rapamycin (mTOR inhibitor). At Einstein, the investigators have been working to discover pathways associated with exceptional longevity. Continue reading >>
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Anti-diabetic Drug Slows Aging And Lengthens Lifespan, Animal Study Suggests
Roundworms treated with metformin show very limited size loss and no wrinkling. Roundworms treated with metformin show very limited size loss and no wrinkling. A study by Belgian doctoral researcher Wouter De Haes (KU Leuven) and colleagues provides new evidence that metformin, the world's most widely used anti-diabetic drug, slows aging and increases lifespan. In experiments reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers tease out the mechanism behind metformin's age-slowing effects: the drug causes an increase in the number of toxic oxygen molecules released in the cell and this, surprisingly, increases cell robustness and longevity in the long term. Mitochondria -- the energy factories in cells -- generate tiny electric currents to provide the body's cells with energy. Highly reactive oxygen molecules are produced as a by-product of this process. While these molecules are harmful because they can damage proteins and DNA and disrupt normal cell functioning, a small dose can actually do the cell good, say the researchers: "As long as the amount of harmful oxygen molecules released in the cell remains small, it has a positive long-term effect on the cell. Cells use the reactive oxygen particles to their advantage before they can do any damage," explains Wouter De Haes. "Metformin causes a slight increase in the number of harmful oxygen molecules. We found that this makes cells stronger and extends their healthy lifespan." It was long thought that harmful reactive oxygen molecules were the very cause of aging. The food and cosmetics industries are quick to emphasize the 'anti-aging' qualities of products containing antioxidants, such as skin creams, fruit and vegetable juices, red wine and dark chocolate. But while antioxidants Continue reading >>
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Will Metformin Become The First Anti-aging Drug?
A committed group of scientists is seeking to validate metformin as the first-ever anti-aging medication.1,2 In this day of staggering drug prices, metformin is available as a low-cost generic. One mechanism by which metformin works is by activating AMPK, an enzyme inside cells that lowers blood sugar by promoting energy utilization. Activating AMPK has broad-ranging effects that extend far beyond blood sugar control. Studies show that boosting AMPK activity can prevent—and even reverse—the life-shortening effects of aging, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and more.3 In this article, we’ll review data that persuaded the FDA to allow metformin to be studied in humans as the first anti-aging drug.1 Broad-Spectrum Effects The most commonly prescribed antidiabetic drug is metformin. It has been in use in England since 1958 and in the United States since 1995. Derived from a compound found in the French Lilac, metformin has a track record of safety and effectiveness at routine doses of up to 2,000 mg daily.4-7 So what evidence is there for the FDA to consider this drug as an anti-aging medication? The reason is simple: Metformin can block or diminish many of the fundamental factors that accelerate aging.8-12 These include protecting against DNA damage glycation, poor mitochondrial function, and chronic inflammation. Metformin has been shown to facilitate DNA repair, which is critical for cancer prevention. By attacking these fundamental degenerative processes, metformin can prevent the development of aging’s most troubling diseases. Metformin has also been shown to increase the production of known longevity-promoting signaling molecules in cells, such as mTOR and AMPK—all of which reduce fat and sugar storage and increas Continue reading >>
Two Compounds Revealed To Slow Age-induced Degeneration
Two Compounds Revealed to Slow Age-Induced Degeneration A new study has revealed a beneficial link between aging and two drugs, one found in red grapes and red wine and one commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. The effect has only been seen in trials with mice, so more studies will need to be conducted before researchers can know the same would be true in humans. Researchers from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and colleagues have discovered the anti-aging effects of two compounds. One is naturally occurring and found in red grapes and red wine, while the other is a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. The former, known as resveratrol, has been previously regarded for its health benefits and has even been called an elixir of youth . The latter, a drug called metformin, has also been researchedfor its anti-cancer effects . We all slow down as we get older, said researcher Gregorio Valdez in a press release. Gait, balance issues, and impaired motor coordination contribute to health problems, accidents, lack of mobility, and a lower quality of life. We work on identifying molecular changes that slow down motor deficits that occur with aging. I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits. The team found that resveratrol can preserve muscle fibers and protect synapses from agings crippling effects. To reach this conclusion, they conducted a study of two-year-old mice treated with resveratrol for a year (two years is generally considered old for mice). The team paid particular attention to how resveratrol affected synapses called neuromuscular junctions. These are crucial for voluntary movement, relaying motor commands from spinal cord neurons to muscles.The team published their s Continue reading >>
Could Drugs Delay The Diseases Of Ageing?
Could drugs delay the diseases of ageing? These are external links and will open in a new window Image caption Hilda Jaffe is still working at 95 Imagine having to ask a 95-year-old to slow down - well, I did. Hilda Jaffe was walking so fast there was a risk that the small group following her would be left behind. We had just met in the lobby of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, where Hilda is a volunteer tour guide, and she was escorting us to the vast, elaborately decorated Rose Main Reading Room. Hilda doesn't walk so much as stride. I know people 60 years her junior who are less nimble on their feet. In common with other super-agers, Hilda has retained her zest for life and knowledge. Hilda completes the New York Times crossword each day, belongs to two book clubs, goes to the opera, classical music concerts and the theatre. She also goes everywhere by foot, describing New York as a "great city for older people". Image caption Hilda on honeymoon with her late husband Gerry I asked Hilda what was the secret of her long and healthy life? She said: "Pick your parents; my father died at 88, my mother at 93, so it has to be genetic." Samples of Hilda's DNA are stored in a freezer at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. She is among more than 600 people aged over 90 who are part of the Longevity Genes Project. Image copyright Max Touhey Photography/NYPL Image caption The Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library, which opened in 1911 and where Hilda Jaffe is a tour guide Dr Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging, said what was striking about the group was what unhealthy lives many had lived. He told me: "Almost 50% of them were overweight. Many were heavy smokers, did not exercise and had unhealthy diets Continue reading >>