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Want To Live Forever? Trials For Drug Believed To Slow Down Aging Process Will Begin Next Winter

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Trials for a medication which may extend our lifetime will begin next year. John Hoey CC BY 2.0

The Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for clinical trials of what may be the world’s first anti-aging medication to begin in winter 2016. The medication is a common diabetes drug known as metformin, and experts believe it may be able to extend human lifespan well into a person's 120s.

Metformin is a common, inexpensive medication widely used to help control the sugar levels of those with type 2 diabetes. However, a 2014 study revealed an interesting side effect of the medication: It can increase users’ lifespan.

“Patients treated with metformin had a small but statistically significant improvement in survival compared with the cohort of non-diabetics,” explained lead study author Craig Currie, a professor from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine in Wales. “This was true even without any clever statistical manipulation.”

Experts believe metformin works to prevent aging by increasing the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, which in turn boosts an individual's robustness, The Telegraph reported. The medication has already been proven to extend the lifespan of animals and the FDA has now allowed for a similar trial, referred to as Targeting Aging with Metformin, or TAME, to be replicated in humans. In preparation for the trial’s launch, scientists are currently raising funds and recruiting around 3,000 70- to 80-year-old participants to take part.

According to Dr. Jay Olshansky, a researcher from the University of Illinois, Chicago, who outlined the upcoming study in the National Geographic documentary, "Breakthrough: The Age of Ageing," a drug capable of slowing down aging could be the most important medical intervention in the modern era. "If we can slow aging in humans, even by just a little bit, it would be monumental," Olshansky told The Telegraph.

The trial’s ultimate goal is to create an anti-aging “vaccine” which, when taken, could slow down the aging process. However, this is not to be confused with eternal youth, although slowing down aging may be able to reduce the prevalence of many age-related conditions, such as loss of muscle tone, dementia, and loss of eyesight.

According to Professor Gordon Lithgow, an aging expert at the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California and one of the study’s advisors, expanding a population’s lifespan may even be more beneficial to humanity than finding a cure to cancer.

“If we were to cure all cancers, it would only raise life expectancy by around three years, because something else is coming behind the cancer, but if we could slow down the aging process you could dramatically improve how long people can live,” Lithgow told The Telegraph.

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