New York Times on Sirtris

The New York Times looks at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals: "The hope is that activating sirtuins in people would, like a calorically restricted diet in mice, avert degenerative diseases of aging like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's. There is no Food and Drug Administration category for longevity drugs, so if the company is to submit a drug for approval, it needs to be for a specific disease. Nonetheless, longevity is what has motivated the researchers and what makes the drugs potentially so appealing. Dr. Christoph Westphal, the chief executive of Sirtris, said of the potential of the drugs, 'I think that if we are right, this could extend life span by 5 or 10 percent.' He added that his goal was to develop drugs against specific diseases, with the extension of life being 'almost a side effect of our medicine.'" There you have the most serious problem facing longevity science today: that its direct application is not permitted by the FDA. Until this changes no serious investment will be made in the US to bring longevity science to the clinic. This is a tragedy of so great a scale as to beggar belief.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/health/research/22long.html?pagewanted=all

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