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What did scientists achieve in search of ways to extend life?

Since the early 19th century, life expectancy has already more than doubled and continues to grow. Most scientists agree that children born after 2000 have every chance of living for 100 years or even longer; after all, medicine does not stand still offering new ways to combat old age, the BBC writes.
What did scientists achieve in search of ways to extend life?

Scientists know a lot of biologically active substances that can effectively mobilize the body's work causing a surge of energy and improving brain function. This is how doping works.

The most surprising effect was described in the Nature magazine just a couple of months ago: in nine volunteers in California, who had been taking growth hormone and two drugs for diabetes for a year, the aging process not only stopped but began to reverse.

During the experiment year, the biological age of the participants determined by special DNA markers decreased by an average of 2.5 years.

A very similar experiment was recently conducted by a group of British and German biologists. The test subjects (the tests were carried out on fruit flies) were given a medicinal cocktail of three biologically active substances: the immunosuppressant rapamycin, insulin-like growth factor and lithium preparations.

By choosing their optimal ratio, the scientists managed to neutralize the side effects of all three drugs and increase the life expectancy of test subjects by almost one and a half times.

A group of American scientists is working on creation of a new class of drugs - senolytics, capable of targeted destruction of old cells. The first trials were successfully carried out on 14 volunteers who were simultaneously given a medicine for leukemia and a natural dietary supplement quercetin.

The combination of these two drugs is undergoing larger clinical trials now, but other variants of senolytics have already been developed.

It is generally accepted that the predisposition to a long life is registered at the DNA level, which means, it can be inherited from ancestors. However, recent studies have proven that the role of genes in this process is greatly exaggerated, and the heredity factor in centenarians does not exceed 10%.

However, we are well aware of what changes occur in DNA with age, and many scientists are trying to slow down (or even completely stop) this process at the genetic level.

For example, as we age, the chromosome ends, the so-called telomeres consisting of identical, repetitive DNA fragments are shortened. With each cell division the chromosomes are doubled, but this process does not reach the very end, and the "tails" are becoming shorter and shorter.

At some point, after about 40-60 cycles, this begins to threaten the main DNA sequence, and the cell starts the process of self-destruction.

For a start, the scientists have found out that when stem cells divide, telomeres do not shorten but retain their length. Moreover, by dividing in vitro, the tails can even be doubled in size naturally, without gene editing.

Spanish biologists have gone further. Having had grown "extra-long" embryonic stem cells of mice in a test tube, they transplanted them into other embryos. The cubs born as a result of this experiment lived, on average, a quarter longer than their relatives; they aged more slowly, gained less excess weight and less likely to develop cancer.

One of the main reasons for senile breakdown is that blood vessels are gradually losing their ability to efficiently supply oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells. For the same reason, along with muscle degeneration, bone fragility is increasing and osteoporosis is developing.

However, Australian scientists have found that injections of the NMN enzyme stimulate vascular growth and successfully restore muscle and bone tissue, at least in elderly mice whose endurance has been restored by 80%.

Testing in humans should begin soon.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/russian/features-5012785

Photos are from open sources.

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