DRUGS that banish wrinkles and put a spring in the step could also be the key to beating ageing
Scientists have discovered that the genes linked to youthful looks and supple limbs also appear to affect how long we live.
The breakthrough finding could lead to “elixir of life” anti-ageing drugs that would slow down or even put off the development of chronic age-related diseases.
It could even lead to a new generation of cosmetics which help hold back the ageing process and boost overall health.
Researchers found the life-extending secret is all thanks to an increase in the activity of genes that produce both collagen – which is vital to young-looking skin – and other proteins found in the body’s “extra-cellular matrix” (ECM).
This is the framework of scaffolding that supports tissues, organs and bones.
The study focused on strategies known to boost the lifespan of the tiny laboratory worm called C.elegans – or Caenorhabditis elegans – including calorie restriction and use of the drug rapamycin.
Professor Keith Blackwell, from the Joslin (CORR) Diabetes Centre which is part of Harvard Medical School in the US, said: “Any longevity intervention that we looked at, whether genetic or nutritional or drugs, increased the expression (activity) of collagen and other ECM genes, and enhanced ECM remodelling.
“If you interfere with this expression, you interfere with the lifespan extension. And if you over-express some of these genes, the worm actually lives a little bit longer.”
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