World's first anti-ageing drug to be trialled

Doctor Andrew Rochford

A common diabetes drug is being clinically tested in the US as the world's first anti-ageing drug.

It is hoped the drug would make the elderly much healthier - for much longer.

Researchers are intrigued by two facts: Animals given the drug live longer and so do diabetes patients.

In a fly-on-the-wall documentary, a team of US scientists put forward their case that they have cracked the code for ageing.

It is claimed in a documentary that the new drug could help people live an energetic life well past the age of 100. Photo: 7News

“You can live a healthy, vital, energetic life well past the age of one-hundred. With just a few pills. It is possible,” it is claimed in the documentary.

If this line of thinking is correct, it will be medicine's 'Golden Age'.

The scientists involved have this week convinced the White House to allow a full medical trial with 3,000 people starting next year.

“This is maybe the most exciting scientific development in terms of the healthcare community that could happen in our lifetimes,” said Senator Claire McCaskill.

This is the drug US scientists believe may help people live longer.
The drug was tested successfully on rats

The trial centres on Metformin, a long-time diabetes drug that costs just 20 cents per pill.

“We can do a lot of this now in mice - the push now is to test ‘can we really translate these things into people?'” said one scientist.

Lab tests on mice show it keeps them healthier, stronger, active and alive for up to 50 percent longer. It's the same for fruit flies and even for worms.

“I had these little petri dishes, one had normal worms, old, and the other had the mutant worms moving around - and I thought, 'I want to be those worms,'” said another scientist.

Early results from the clinical trial are expected in five years.

As the documentary points out, it is an attractive hypothesis but a trial is required to see if it is true.

Early results will be known in five years.