Resveratrol, a molecule found in red grapes, can indeed slow down aging according to a new study published in the March 8 issue of the journal, Science.
Research has shown that a single anti-ageing enzyme in the body can be targeted, with the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend the years of life.
GSK, the pharmaceutical firm, is testing them on people with particular medical conditions, namely Type II diabetes and psoriasis, a serious skin condition.
As each of the 117 drugs tested work on the single enzyme through a common mechanism is means that a whole new class of anti-ageing drugs is now viable, which could ultimately prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
The red wine ingredient in pill form is being developed by David Sinclair, PhD an Australian biologist and his colleagues that contains the resveratrol equivalent of 100 glasses of wine.
He said: “Now we are looking at whether there are benefits for those who are already healthy.
“Things there are also looking promising. We’re finding that ageing isn’t the irreversible affliction that we thought it was.
“Some of us could live to 150, but we won’t get there without more research.”
The red wine ingredient is an antioxidant and could fight disease because it turns on sirtuin proteins that are known to defend the body against age-related diseases, doing much more than scavenging free radicals.
Sinclair has since proven resveratrol can work without the chemical, explaining fluorophore mimicked “greasy” amino acids that naturally occur in the body.
The sirtuin protein being targeted is SIRT1.
There are 7 Sirt-s that have various unknown molecular functions related to cell metabolism that researchers are currently studying.
The target enzyme, SIRT1, is switched on naturally by calorie restriction and exercise, but it can also be enhanced through activators.
Sinclair explained that increasing SIRT1 activity improved how well our cells operated, making them less sluggish.
In previous experiments, mice, bees and flies given the SIRT1-boosting compounds lived longer.
The researchers tested 117 drugs, all of which work on a single enzyme through different processes.
“Eventually, the drugs will be developed to treat one disease, “…but unlike drugs of today, they would prevent 20 others”, Sinclair said in a press release.
There have already been promising results in some trials with implications for cancer, cardiovascular disease and heart failure, Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, fatty liver disease, cataracts, osteoporosis, muscle wasting, sleep disorders and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, arthritis and colitis, writes the Daily Mail.
The test works by looking for proteins strongly linked with Alzheimer’s disease, such as amyloid and APOE were added, as well as proteins related to inflammation – to increase the power of the test.
Professor Sinclair said: “In the history of pharmaceuticals, there has never been a drug that tweaks an enzyme to make it run faster.”
Limited trials have been carried out in people with type 2 diabetes and the skin inflammatory disease, psoriasis.
The technology to develop the pill was sold to the drug company GlaxoSmithKline in 2008 for $720 million. The company has developed 4000 synthetic SIRT1 activators, three of which are in human clinical trials.
Sinclair, a co-found of Sirtris, takes resveratrol himself and has maintained confidence in the beneficial effects for halting diseases related to aging, says Examiner.
The new finding would need to be corroborated by additional research before an anti-ageing pill becomes a reality.
Drinking red wine, though beneficial, cannot slow down aging. The anti-aging pill would need to have 100 times the resveratol found in a glass of wine.