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Anti-ageing treatment nears

Friday June 26th, 2015

A cancer drug may hold the key to delaying ageing, it was revealed last night.

The drug Trametinib is used to treat skin cancer.

But now scientists have found it can extend the life of adult fruit flies.

Their study, reported in Cell, found it extended the lives of these animals by 12%.

The drug was developed to tackle a protein called Ras, which is involved in cancer.

The protein is also thought to be involved in ageing - meaning that treatment with the drug could help delay the process.

Researchers say they believe this could lead to anti-ageing treatments - but that existing cancer drugs should not be used because of their side-effects.

Researcher Dr Cathy Slack, of University College, London, UK, said: “Identifying the importance of the Ras-Erk-ETS pathway in animal ageing is a significant step on the way to developing treatments that delay the onset of ageing. The pathway is the same in humans as it is in flies and, because the Ras protein plays a key role in cancer, many small molecule drugs already exist, some of which have been approved for clinical use.

"With support from pharma, we can refine these molecules over the next ten to 20 years to develop anti-ageing treatments which don’t have the adverse effects of cancer drugs.”

Fellow researcher Professor Dame Linda Partridge added: "Death still seems to be inevitable, but we now have evidence to suggest it is possible to develop pharmacological treatments to keep us healthier for longer."

The Ras-Erk-ETS signaling pathway is a drug target for longevity. Cell 25 June 2015

Tags: Cancer | General Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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