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Scientists "find cure for ageing"

Scientists "find cure for ageing"

By ( / 2 Nov 2011

IT’S the breakthrough many believed would never come – scientists think they have found a cure for ageing.

Researchers discovered a drug that can help DNA damaged by the passing of time repair itself. They now hope it can be used to treat ­conditions more common in later life such as dementia, arthritis, ­osteoarthritis, cancer and heart disease.

And experts are ­optimistic the drug, called N-acetyl cystein, can beat wasting diseases and stop premature ageing in children.

A team at Durham University looked at inherited degenerative disorders that are caused by mutations in the LMNA gene.

The most severe include Hutchinson Gilford progeria syndrome that makes children age eight times as fast as normal and die around 13.

Chief researcher Professor Chris Hutchison said: “Mutations in LMNA cause more diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, than any other.

“We’ve found that DNA damage can be controlled and our findings could be an important step to helping both children with progeria and older people to live lives that are less debilitating in terms of health problems.

“We will look at patients with progeria to see if there’s a model that can be used for wider medicine.”

Age UK welcomed the ­breakthrough. Research chief Professor James Goodwin said: “Although it’s fantastic people live longer, on average men can expect to live 7.4 years and women nine years at the end of their lives with a disability. This research is promising.”

Prof Hutchinson said human trials will now be needed to develop the drug.