New horizons in life extension, healthspan extension and exceptional longevity

Key Points

  • Gerotherapeutic drugs target ageing pathways to prevent ageing-related diseases and increase lifespan.
  • Rapamycin, metformin and precursors of NAD are amongst many gerotherapeutic drugs entering the clinical trial phase of drug development.
  • Licencing of gerotherapeutic drugs will depend on clinical trials that are both feasible and can provide evidence of a primary impact on ageing biology.

Over the last two decades there has been a marked increase in the number of interventions reported to increase lifespan, and delay ageing and disease, in laboratory animals. However, the development of gerotherapeutic drugs is still in its infancy…

Repurposing provides another pathway for drug development. Here, drugs that are already registered for unrelated diseases and have established safety, are tested for additional indications [9]. In the case of gerotherapeutics, an innovative process involving detailed analysis of clinical and preclinical effects on lifespan, healthspan and ageing biology found nine drugs that could potentially be repurposed for their ageing or ‘gerotherapeutic’ effects. These were: sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, metformin, acarbose, rapamycin/rapalogs, methylene blue, ACEi/ARB, dasatinib (and quercetin), aspirin and N -acetyl cysteine [10]. Metformin, rapamycin and the combination of dasatinib and quercetin have already been extensively studied for their effects on ageing.

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