Israeli scientists have learned how to extend the life of mice by 23 percent and are confident that the method can work in humans. A team from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and the U.S. National Institutes of Health identified a protein called SIRT6, whose increased levels increased the lifespan of mice and even strengthened their resistance to cancer.
The SIRT6 protein stock decreases with age. Increasing the protein positively affects longevity, youthfulness, and cancer resistance in mice, the scientists wrote in Nature Communications. “The change in life expectancy was significant when you consider that an equivalent jump in human life expectancy would have resulted in us living on average almost 120 years,” said Professor Haim Cohen of Bar-Ilan University.
In 2012, Cohen became the first researcher to actually increase protein levels in animals and their longevity by making male mice live 15 percent longer. Females were not affected by the experience in any way. In collaboration with Professor Rafael de Cabo of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Cohen has brought the method to reveal a jump in life expectancy among both male and female mice. And males lived 30 percent longer than males in the control group and females lived 15 percent longer.
In assessing the youthfulness of the mice, the scientists noticed that they did not lose the ability to generate energy after a short fasting from fat and lactic acid, which usually occurs with aging. They had less cholesterol, were less likely to get cancer and could run faster. “This discovery shows that SIRT6 controls the rate of healthy aging. That is, increasing its activity could potentially slow aging,” Cohen explained, noting that no tools yet exist to translate success with mice to humans, but his lab will be up to the task in two to three years. Scientists are already developing small molecules that can increase SIRT6 levels or make existing amounts of the protein more active in humans.
Earlier, scientists from Singapore, Russia and the United States, led by Peter Fedichev of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, developed a new method of determining biological age by blood analysis. The test allows to determine by blood analysis the index of the dynamic state of the organism, which characterizes the general level of physiological stability. As a result, scientists have established the maximum possible human lifespan, which is much longer than a hundred years.