The University of Washington’s Dog Aging Project is trialling the use of rapamycin on 32 middle-aged golden retrievers, labradors and German shepherds.
The drug is used in humans to prevent the rejection of transplanted kidneys and has been proven to extend the lives of mice by up to 25%. Rapamycin can cleanse the cells and thereby improve a dog’s heart function, immune system, body weight and mental ability.
Dr Daniel Promislow said to the journal Science,
f we can understand how to improve the quality and length of life, it’s good for our pets and good for us. It’s win-win.
If rapamycin has a similar effect in dogs – and it’s important to keep in mind we don’t know this yet – then a typical large dog could live two to three years longer, and a smaller dog might live four years longer.
More important than the extra years, however, is the improvement in overall health during aging that we expect rapamycin to provide.”
Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, a biogerontologist at the University of Liverpool believes that it could extend a dog’s life beyond 4 years. He said, “I don’t think there is a set maximum longevity for any species. The real question is how far can we go. Maybe a thousand years from now you could have dog that lives 300 years.”
If the drug does work, this means it has potential to be used on humans.