Common Drug Shows Promise To Slow Skin Aging

An already available drug has been found with a surprising health benefit. New study shows that Rapamycin could help slow skin aging in adults. 

The FDA-approved drug was designed to help prevent organ rejection after transplant surgery. But researchers at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia said it may soon expand the list of treatments used to delay the effects of aging in people. 

It is not the first time Rapamycin shows its anti-aging effects. Previous studies found the drug help maintain youthfulness in animals. 

But the new study, published in the journal Geroscience, is the first to show how Rapamycin could help make human tissue become younger. In tests with humans, a topical version of the drug reduced wrinkles and sagging of the skin and improved skin tone, MedicalXpress reported Monday

"As researchers continue to seek out the elusive 'fountain of youth' and ways to live longer, we're seeing growing potential for use of this drug," Christian Sell, senior study author and an associate professor at the College of Medicine, said in a statement. "So, we said, let's try skin. It's a complex organism with immune, nerve cells, stem cells—you can learn a lot about the biology of a drug and the aging process by looking at skin."

Researchers tested Rapamycin in 13 people, aged over 40 years. The participants applied rapamycin cream every one to two days to one hand for eight months while they used placebo on the other hand.

The researchers then observed changes after two, four, six and eight months. They also asked participants to undergo a blood test and a biopsy at the six- or eight-month mark.

By the end of the experiment, majority of those who regularly put rapamycin on their hand showed high levels of collagen protein and reduced p16 protein. Skin with lower levels of p16 has less senescent cells, which contribute to wrinkles.

Having higher levels of p16 has been linked to dermal atrophy. This condition could lead to fragile skin, slow healing of cuts and increased risk of infection or complications.

Another way Rapamycin helped improve skin appearance and health is by blocking the protein known as "target of rapamycin" (TOR). This protein plays an important role in aging of human cells as well as metabolism and growth.

The team noted more studies are needed to further understand how the drug helps slow aging. They also aim to start testing Rapamycin in clinical settings and to find applications in other diseases. 

Aging People continue to seek the best treatments for wrinkles that appear in most parts of the body as people age. Pixabay