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    Life span in humans can increase 10-20% in the future, claim scientists; work underway

    Life span in humans can increase 10-20% in the future, claim scientists; work underway

    Life span in humans can increase 10-20% in the future, claim scientists; work underway
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    Backed by high-profile billionaires, venture capitalists and a $3 billion annual budget for the US National Institute of Ageing, a number of scientific research centres and biotechnology companies in the US have been focussing on the anti-ageing field

    There is no magic pill that can extend human life expectancy from 80 to 150 years, but scientists contend that a 10 to 20 percent increase in lifespan beyond 80 years is conceivable in the future.
    Backed by high-profile billionaires, venture capitalists and a $3 billion annual budget for the US National Institute of Aging, a number of scientific research centres and biotechnology companies in the United States have been focussing on the anti-ageing field, the Wall Street Journal reported.
    Scientists have been exploring ways to extend the lifespan of people through use of drugs. Two popular medicines, Metformin and Rapamycin, have already shown an increased lifespan in animals. Both these drugs target molecular processes linked to the ageing of cells.

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    Another drug Senolytics removes the senescent cells from the body. The senescent cells are old cells, which accumulate in the tissues and damage other cells, but don’t die. They result in cognitive impairment, frailty and lack of physical resilience.
    Scientists are working on another approach called cellular reprogramming that will reverse ageing and restore functions of younger cells.
    However, there are a number of hurdles on technical, regulatory, economic and social grounds. For instance, a drug that a healthy population would take for a long duration has to clear a high safety bar. But it is difficult to get approval for such drugs as ageing is not considered a disease to be treated by the Food and Drug Administration. Researchers have to quantify if the medicine improves health or extends survival in a specific age-related disease.


    In 2008, GlaxoSmithKline had acquired Sirtris Pharmaceuticals which made a drug with resveratrol for $720 million. Resveratrol had been linked with better lifespan in animals, but the drug major was not able to make effective drugs out of the research and closed the Sirtris unit in 2013.
    Another factor to consider is that scientists will have to develop an anti-ageing drug that is accessible to people of low socio-economic status, who are prone to illnesses.
    The hope for the drug is that any such medicine will reduce the risk of all ageing diseases at once, extending the lifespan without debilitating ailments.“We don’t want to have people live to be 120 and feel like they’re 120,” the Wall Street Journal quoted James Kirkland, a gerontologist at Mayo Clinic, as saying.
    According to researchers, even if the drug fails to extend longevity of life, they will better the quality of life of the elderly and reduce the costs of healthcare.
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