Is an Anti-Aging Drug on the Cards?
28th June 2015
For years now, we’ve been spending what can amount to a small fortune on anti-aging skin care products designed to keep our skin looking young and fresh.
Whilst these products will often delay the aging process of our skin, the years will still take their toll on our bodies, and, sadly, no amount of anti-wrinkle cream will be able to prevent heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease from developing in our later years.
But this could all be about to change.
After the announcement late last year that the first baby steps towards an anti-aging drug had been taken, and researchers from the University of Birmingham now claiming that the world’s first anti-aging drugs could be on the market within the next five years, the internal effects of aging could soon be a thing of the past.
But can the effects of aging actually be slowed, or even prevented?
Here we give you an overview of the research and how the proposed ‘fountain of youth’ drugs could work to reduce the effects of aging.
How does it work?
As you may remember from your GCSE science lessons, the cells in our body continuously divide and regenerate as we grow older.
Unfortunately, after a certain amount of time our cells become unavoidably damaged through the natural processes of our body, such as breathing oxygen and digesting our food that are necessary to sustain life.
Eventually, these damaged cells stop working, or worse, become ‘senescent’ and begin to function in ways which trigger growth of cancerous cells or degrade the important tissues in the brain, skin and other internal organs (leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s).
Ironically enough, the drugs, which researchers have named ‘senolytics’, work by killing off the senescent cells, which contribute to the aging process.
How long will it take to manufacture?
Although the research conducted is extremely promising, any drug designed to specifically combat the effects of aging will have to go through a number of clinical trials, including extensive human testing, before it can be put on the market.
And although some researchers are saying that the world’s first anti-aging drug could be on the market as soon as 2020, the wait for a ‘fountain of youth’ pill will undoubtedly be a longer one than five years.
So although it may be tempting, don’t go throwing out your anti-aging creams just yet.