Fountain of Youth Drug Found on Easter Island

Scientists think Rapamycin might be able to slow aging
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2011 3:21 PM CDT
Updated Jul 3, 2011 7:29 AM CDT
Fountain of Youth Drug Found on Easter Island
The sun sets behind Moais -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- on Easter Island, off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 12, 2010.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Scientists think a drug derived from a chemical found in the soil of Easter Island may be able to slow down the aging process and extend human life spans. The drug Rapamycin, nicknamed the “forever young” drug, has been shown in experiments to counteract the effects of Hutchinson-Gilford Progerias Syndrome—a rare genetic disease that causes children to age at a greatly exaggerated rate, dying of “old age” by around 12, the Telegraph reports.

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Rapamycin sweeps the cells of progerin, the protein that clogs the cells and causes them to age prematurely. Recent research has shown that normal aging works in much the same way as HGPS, so now US researchers are expected to look into Rapamycin’s ability to stem it, too. “Even a small activation of this 'debris removal' system would extend the health and life-span of our cells and organs,” one of the co-authors of the new study says. (Read more scientific breakthroughs stories.)

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