An Elixer of Youth May Be Closer Than You Think

Bette Davis once said, “Old age is no place for sissies,” and she wasn’t wrong.  But looking or feeling older isn’t the only worry middle-aged adults face approaching their golden years.  Age-related illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease, sarcopenia (age-related muscle disfunction), coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes are just a few of the major diseases associated with aging that researchers from Harvard are working to help prevent or treat with youth-restoring medications.

According to a recent PRNewswire report,  Elevian researchers are working to develop drugs that would help the circulatory systems of older adults behave as they did in youth, with a greater ability to regenerate tissues and organs.  Researchers are focusing on the GDF11 factor that is present in young blood, and if activated in older adults, could help the body repair the heart, brain, muscle and other tissue.   GDF11 activates muscle stem cells which aid in repairing damaged tissue.

Elevian has received $5.5 million of seed money to date from a variety of investors and has more than 20 researchers working on new medicines that modulate GDF11.  Early trials have yet to be completed on humans and more study on long-term side effects, means of delivery and affordability will need to be addressed in continuing research.  Clinical trials on animals have been conducted using a daily injection over a period of 30 days and animals have been sacrificed for the purpose of the study; trials that allow mice to continue aging following treatment will give a clearer picture of how long injections remain beneficial and how often they will be required. 

Learn more about the science behind Elevian by following this link to a 2014 study published in the journal Science