Last month, I reported from the ideaCity Conference on research into extending the human life span. One theory is that restricting calorie intake by 30% is the key to accomplishing this. It’s been successful in the lab with fruit flies and rats. It works by triggering the body’s ancient mechanism for riding out famines.
Now pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has bought a company that’s developing 2 drugs they hope will activate the famine reflex by triggering the enzymes that switch it on. One is being tested against Type 2 diabetes, one of the many diseases of aging that the company’s scientists hope the drugs will avert. Researchers are very optimistic because such a big company is involved. They believe these drugs could ultimately extend our lifespan by 10 or 15 per cent. But success is far from assured.