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The Diabetes Pill That Could Extend Life Expectancy to 120


A drug called metformin which is currently used regularly to treat diabetes could help adults to live well into their 120s, according to scientists.

Researchers will carry out the first trials into the medication in 2016 in the hopes that it could further be used to combat illnesses including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Previous drug trials of metformin involved animals, and results showed the drug dramatically extended their life span. Now the Food and Drug Administration, an American regulator, has permitted similar trials to be carried out on humans.

If the trials are successful it would mean that if the drug was taken by a person in their 70s, they could achieve the same biological age of someone 20 years their junior.

The study will be led by Professor Gordon Lithgow of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California, who said, "If you target an ageing process and you slow down ageing then you slow down all the diseases and pathology of ageing as well. That's revolutionary. That's never happened before.

"I have been doing research into ageing for 25 years and the idea that we would be talking about clinical trial in humans for an anti-ageing drug would have been thought inconceivable. But there is every reason to believe it's possible."

It is believed that the drug, which costs only 10p per day, aids anti-ageing by boosting the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell. This in turn increases a person's ability to stay healthier and live longer.

Last year, academics from Cardiff University suggested that diabetes patients who take the drug, either as a daily pill or as a sachet dissolved in water, lived longer, despite the fact the disease decreases life expectancy due to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney damage.

The trial, named Targeting Ageing With Metformin (TAME), is due to commence in the US next winter.

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