A research group of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging from Cologne, Germany, just demonstrated (in laboratory mice) that brief exposure to rapamycin has the same positive effects as permanent treatment, opening new doors for potential application in humans.
Rapamycin, an immunosuppressive drug initially used to prevent rejection in organ transplants, is one of the substances at the center of researchers' attention, because has been shown to extend lifespan and improve health. The current approach goes in the direction of administering it for life.
In the laboratory study, German scientists tested different time windows of short-term drug delivery in fruit flies. They found that a short 2-week window of rapamycin treatment in young adult flies protected them from age-related pathology in the gut and prolonged their life. A corresponding short window of time, 3 months of treatment starting at 3 months of age in young adult mice, had similar beneficial effects on gut health.
Why is it very, very important? The key challenge of science is to avoid negative side effects of a possible "lifetime" administration of rapamycin. Therefore, finding out that short and early treatments achieve similar results is a real hit.
Effects of taking rapamycin: in summary
As is often the case in these cases, it is still unclear to what extent these findings can be passed on to humans. In any case, the implications of this discovery are obvious. If the data from subsequent analyzes confirm these, we will be able to obtain the benefits of rapamycin without having to worry about the potential side effects. This is a big step towards extending healthy life.
The research was published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature, and I link it here.