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Aging & Longevity

Successful study of anti-aging drug with monkeys wins new grant

More research on safety of the drug rapamycin funded by NIA

Marmoset monkeys used in research

Click to YouTube video about rapamycin

Feb. 12, 2016 - The search for eternal youth marches on with a new grant from the National Institute on Aging for work to continue on the effects of the drug rapamycin on the lifespan and healthy aging of middle aged marmoset monkeys. The grant comes on the heels of a study with the animals showing the anti-aging drug has minimal metabolic side effects after continuous, long-term treatment.

A 2009 discovery found that rapamycin, also known as sirolimus, could extend the lifespan of mice. Since that time, studies on the metabolic side effects of rapamycin have made it unclear whether the drug is safe as a long-term treatment.

The new grant of $2.7 million was awarded to the same researchers with the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC) at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

They were the first to examine the metabolic consequences of rapamycin dosing in healthy, non-human primates. In addition to metabolic function, the researchers found that the encapsulated rapamycin was well tolerated by the marmosets.

The new study begins this month.

"This initial study with marmosets as a model for human aging has allowed us to evaluate the efficacy of a new intervention treatment that looked promising in other animal model species for both healthspan and lifespan extension," said Dr. Corinna Ross, lead author of the study and Assistant Professor Biology, Texas A&M University San Antonio.

The results of that study are published in the November issue of the journal Aging.

"The results are encouraging," said Dr. Suzette Tardif, Associate Director of SNPRC and co-investigator on the study. "Marmosets also offer a unique non-human primate model that will allow us to further evaluate not just the safety but the effectiveness of treatment with rapamycin."

Dr. Adam Salmon, principal investigator of the new study and Assistant Professor/Research Department of Molecular Medicine at the Barshop Institute, said, "These studies will provide an important step towards translational approaches to delay age-related disease and improve healthy aging in humans by means of pharmaceutical inhibition of mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin)."


Editor’s Notes:

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, with missions of teaching, research and healing, is one of the country's leading health sciences universities. Its schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have more than 32,200 alumni who are advancing their fields throughout the world. For more information visit The Barshop Institute website is at

Texas Biomed reports to be one of the world's leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to


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