On Extending Mouse Longevity

Here is a popular science article on the many ways to extend life in laboratory mice, and the relevance of that research to human health and longevity:

Biologists have successfully extended the life spans of some mice by as much as 70%, leading many to believe that ongoing experimentation on our mammalian cousins will eventually lead to life-extending therapies in humans. But how reliable are these studies? And do they really apply to humans?

Many scientists will tell you that "mice are not people" which is true of course. It is also true that we have cured cancer many times in mice with therapies that do not work in humans, so we must be careful about saying that interventions that work in mice will be directly translatable to humans. But at the same time, functional life extension therapies in mice do hold prospects for human longevity. Extending the lifespan of a mouse that normally lives only three years to five by applying a treatment late in its life could capture the imagination of many. "In this day of the Internet, everyone would be able to view video clips of mice the equivalent of 120 human years in age - healthy, active and being social with their fellows.This would do something, I think, to the human psyche that would enable much more rapid development of interventions for humans, hence the reason for the Methuselah Mouse Prize which is designed to create this result."

Near everything demonstrated to date to extend life in mice has been a form of gene therapy or metabolic manipulation. It changes the pace of aging, but isn't rejuvenation. To create longer lives [than the present best efforts in mice], you need to work on rejuvenation attained by repairing the cell- and tissue-level damage that causes aging, not just finding ways to gently slow aging by slowing down the pace at which that damage accumulates. The future of mouse longevity is SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), which is a radically different approach to any of the work currently extending life in mice.

Link: http://io9.com/do-these-startling-animal-studies-mean-your-lifespan-co-486041314


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