BOSTON (KDKA) – The words “anti-aging” make most of us think of lotions and creams to fight the outward appearance of getting older.
However, a researcher is confident he’s found a way to fight aging from the inside and it could mean treatments for age-related issues, like heart disease and cancer.
Dr. David Sinclair, of Harvard Medical School, says he’s found a molecule that has proven to reverse aging in mice.
“They drink it and we see that within a week they start to run farther,” Dr. Sinclair said. “And then, we look at their organs and those are rejuvenated as well.”
It’s all about DNA.
Young people in their 20s and 30s have no problem briskly running, climbing, and jumping. But, as we age, those activities get much more difficult. According to Sinclair, it’s because the DNA in those younger people has not yet been damaged by the aging process. That is the key to his research.
“When we are young there is a protein that works well to repair our DNA,” he said. “But as we get older another protein comes in and stops that from happening. What we’ve discovered is there’s a molecule that can get between them and pop them apart so this youthful protein can do it’s action again.”
If approved, this is not something you’ll find on drug store shelves. It will actually be prescribed to prevent age-related diseases.
“It won’t just help your diabetes, as a side effect it will prevent cancer and it will improve your memory and you will have more energy as well,” Sinclair said.
But, not everyone is crazy about the idea of scientists reversing nature.
“We have to have an end to life,” one woman said. “You get to a certain age and you’ve got 10 million things wrong with you; don’t keep me alive.”
But, Sinclair said this is actually about improving quality of life as we get older.
“What we are talking about here is not keeping people in nursing homes for longer, but keeping them out of nursing homes and allowing people in their 80s and 90s to play tennis and hang out with their grandchildren,” he said.
Safety studies are expected to begin in the next couple of weeks.
Dr. Sinclair said even if his molecule doesn’t work in people, there’s so much research around the world that something eventually will work, saying it’s not a matter of if, but when.