Tales of the fountain of youth have been recounted across the decades. While the search is still ongoing, many have already failed. But that didn’t stop the 3 Australian research teams, racing against time and each other, in the hopes of finding the cure for aging.
Although each team has their unique approach, their research has progressed to the extent that they are testing therapies and pharmaceuticals on themselves and conducting human trials. Let’s take a closer look at the 3 teams and their approaches.
Team One: The Pharmacists
Team one is led by Professor David Sinclair, well-known for his 2003 anti-aging discovery of the red wine compound, Resveratrol, and was one Time’s 100 most influential people. The team is based in the University of NSW where the human trials started. One of their setbacks included an incident where the participants experienced diarrhea due to the high concentrations of resveratrol for therapeutic benefits.
Instead, they directed their attention to the metabolite NAD+. This improves the body’s natural ability to repair DNA damage. For the past years, the researchers have been working on a drug substance, NMN, an NAD+ precursor. In their mice trials using NMN, they saw positive results in one week and are close to producing safe and effective anti-aging drugs.
Team Two: The Dieters
Team Two is led by Professor Stephen Simpson at the University of Melbourne in the discovery of dietary manipulations that could extend our lifespan and finding a particular diet that can cure aging. Calorie-restricted diets have been announced officially that calorie-restricted diets could increase our life spans by up to a third by scientists since the 1930s. However, the side effects of this certain diet have always been an issue. Professor Simpson noticed a flaw; there was no research into the types of calories.
Professor Simpson conducted a fruit fly experiment and found that a high-carbohydrate and low–protein diet resulted in an extended lifespan from eating as much as the fruit fly desired. And with the $20.6 million funding from an anonymous donor, the university built an institute based on the professor’s research. He is ready to launch many clinics that will test the anti-aging dietary ideas from mice trials to himself. His latest dietary protocol includes a plant-based protein diet consisting of lots of fish and plenty of complex carbohydrates.
The only downside, however, is the mice subjects with low-protein diets have a shorter life, however, they experienced increased testosterone levels, greater lean muscle mass, and better reproductive health.
Team Three: The Geneticists
Led by Dr. Matt Piper of Monash University in Melbourne, his research involves discovering the genes concerned with aging. Unlike Professor Simpson of Team Two, Dr. Piper is interested in the ratio of the different types of protein. His mice subjects are examined to get the exact number of proteins and amino acids in their DNA and follow a low-protein diet that contains the exact ratio of amino acids. The results have increased his subjects’ lifespan and given them higher testosterone levels and greater muscular growth.
Dr. Piper stated that there is no current timeline as to when it can be tested and used for humans. He also considered the chronic illnesses that come with aging. As he quoted, “It’s not just about living longer, it’s about living healthy.”