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Sunday, February 15, 2015

RAPAMYCIN: A CURE FOR AGING?

Earlier this month I provided the ultimate answers for Death and Heaven.  These revelations derived from Chapter 2 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity on Eternal Life, published seven years ago, and my Huffington Post article of five years ago entitled, Science and the Future of Cloning:  Is Immortality Possible?

I actually indicated that science is close to stopping the onset of aging, and while people will still die from accidents, illnesses and the like, there will remain the potential of living forever.  About Heaven, in the Beginning, Man Created God.

These might have seemed fanciful to most, but the latest TIME was a special issue on this topic, and they focused on rapamycin as the pill that might cure aging.  What this chemical does is boost the immune system of elders.

Originally provided to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection, researchers then found that rapamycin seemed to improve the efficacy of the flu vaccine by 20%.  Of course, just last month I suggested a cure called Advil, which, granted, had a sample size of one, me.

Also known as Sirolimus, Suren Sehgal (originally from what is now Pakistan, he passed away 12 years ago) discovered this anti fungal agent in 1972 as a product of Streptomyces hygroscopicus, found on Easter Island.  He called the product rapamycin in honor of Rapa Nui, the native name for Easter Island.  With a trade name of Rapamune by Pfizer (a U.S. company), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug in 1999.  The beauty of this all is that, as a biochemical agent, it can't be patented, but Wyeth, which purchased Ayerst Laboratories, the company for which Sehgal worked, earned most of the early profits in organ transplants.  Then Pfizer bought Wyeth.

Today, this anti-aging remedy is being pushed by Novartis (Switzerland), which has a derivative, a pill that can be patented.  Such is the nature of pharmaceuticals.  If you don't subscribe to TIME, here is an article by Bill Gifford on the company and their quest.

I might add that the worth of rapamycin has been countered by other medical professionals.  Plus, there are possible side effects that could turn out to be significant, and your immune system is suppressed.  Finally, the research remains mostly at the mice stage, where life expectancy was seen to increase only from 10% to 14%.  Yet, a derivative of rapamycin called everolimus (right) was used on volunteers in Australia and New Zealand, which INCREASED the immune response of elderly patients.  So the field remains in infancy.

As an aside, you ask, what happened to Resveratrol (right), that compound found in another magic potion called red wine?  To make a long story short, from Quackwatch:
  • Reports that Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes, which means the concentration is higher in red wine, lower in white and virtually non existent in grape juice, because of the length of time the skin is present during the fermentation process.
  • Also occurs in mulberries, peanuts, eucalyptus, etc.
  • Touted for antioxidant properties and reduction of coronary disease, that is, explains the French Paradox of high fat diet  with consumption of red wine.
  • While there are signals that Resveratrol might diminish the incidence of cancer and heart disease, much of the research on the beneficial properties of the compound has been discredited or remain in question.
  • In 2011, a review with 21 co-authors concluded that "the published evidence is not sufficiently strong to justify a recommendation for the administration of resveratrol to humans..."
To conclude, sure, drink some red wine, but, at this time, don't expect much more than a high.  However, there is excitement that, finally, medical science has stumbled on a possible cure for aging.  Keep an eye out for rapamycin (right) and all its derivatives, for they have mostly already been approved by the FDA for human applications.

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1 comment:

Audrey Mackay said...

The biochemical aging should not be underestimated.