Story at a glance:
- Mice in an Israeli lab were able to live 23 percent longer after scientists increased the supply of a key protein.
- If the test is successful on humans, the average person could live up to 120 years.
- The experiment dates back to 2012.
Israeli scientists increased the life expectancy of mice by 23 percent, which could allow the average person to live up to 120 years.
According to a report from the Times of Israel, scientists increased in 250 mice the supply of a protein, SIRT6, that usually decreases with age.
The protein-rich mice were more youthful and less susceptible to getting cancer.
“The change in life expectancy is significant, when you consider that an equivalent jump in human life expectancy would have us living on average until almost 120,” Haim Cohen of Bar-Ilan University told the Times of Israel.
“The changes we saw in mice may be translatable to humans, and if so that would be exciting."
In 2012, Cohen did the same experiment, increasing the protein levels in just 15 percent of the male mice. In the latest research, Cohen worked alongside international scientists, including Rafael de Cabo from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, to improve his previous work.
It was a success, with 30 percent of male mice living longer than the controlled group and 15 percent of female mice living longer than their controlled counterparts.
Older mice produce higher energy from SIRT6, resulting in lower cholesterol levels and a lower incidence of cancer.
“This discovery shows that SIRT6 controls the rate of healthy aging, and this shows that boosting its activity could potentially slow aging,” Cohen told the Times of Israel. In two to three years - given that drugs are required to increase the proteins of humans - it could be possible to increase a person's life span.
“We are developing small molecules that may increase the levels SIRT6, or make existing amounts of the protein more active,” he told the Times of Israel. “They may be used in the future to address aging.”
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