Photo: HALo Director Matt Kaeberlein, with his dog Dobby, and Daniel Promislow, with his dog Frisbee, by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times
The Seattle Times article describes the second part of the project which would test an FDA-approved Healthspan-lengthening drug, called rapamycin, in the hopes of improving the health of aging dogs.
“We’re not talking about doubling the healthy life spans of pets,” said UW molecular biologist Matt Kaeberlein. “But at a minimum I would predict that you would get a 10 to 15 percent increase in average life span, and I think bigger effects are possible.” Low doses of rapamycin have been shown to safely slow aging and extend the period of healthy life in mice and several other organisms. Based on our scientific studies, we anticipate that the drug will improve cardiac function, boost immune function, reduce or delay the risk of cancer, and increase healthy lifespan of middle-aged dogs by two to five years.
The Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute together with the Nathan Shock Center for Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging hosted a Symposium on Healthy Aging in People and their Pets in Seattle last week where experts from across the country brainstormed about the best way to gauge the effects of the drug rapamycin on the health and longevity of pet dogs.
“I think it’s worth a go, not just from what it can teach us about humans, but for the sake of the animals themselves,” University of Alabama Biology Department Chairman, Steven Austad, an expert in aging research who is not part of the UW project. “It may not work in dogs, but if it did, boy, it’s going to be huge.”