Diabetes Drug Tied to Longer, Healthier Lives in Mice
Bethesda, MD - Long-term treatment with the type 2 diabetes drug metformin improves health and longevity of male mice when started at middle age, reports an international team of scientists led by researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institute of Health. The study, which tested two doses of the drug in the male mice, found the higher dose to be toxic in the animals. Scientists emphasized that considerably more research is needed before the implications of metformin for healthy aging are known for humans.
The study, headed by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., of the NIA’s Intramural Research Program, was published in the July 30, 2013 issue of Nature Communications.
“There is increasing interest in exploring how drugs for one use might be repurposed for another,” notes Richard J. Hodes, M.D., director of the NIA. “It is exciting to discover that a drug already known to be safe and effective in humans might be further studied for a possible, alternate use for healthy aging.”
Prescribed since the 1960s to treat type 2 diabetes, metformin is known to enhance insulin sensitivity, prompt sugar to be converted to energy, and prevent sugar build up in the liver. It also reduces risk of health issues associated with metabolic syndrome, a condition characterized by an increased chance for heart disease and stroke, as well as type 2 diabetes.
“Aging is a driving force behind metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Given that metformin is clinically proven to alleviate symptoms of these conditions, and reduce risk of cancer, we thought perhaps it was a good candidate to study for its broader effects on health and lifespan,” said de Cabo. Continue>
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