Over the summer, we heard about a definitely-maybe magical anti-aging drug that already exists: the diabetes medication metformin. Researchers have already shown that metformin extends the life of mice and helped roundworms stay healthier longer; observational studies in humans found that diabetics taking the drug lived longer than people without diabetes. It’s thought to be beneficial because it prevents your body from releasing extra sugar into your blood and slows the rate of cell turnover. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has green-lit a clinical trial in humans called Targeting Aging with Metformin, or TAME. Cue headlines about us living to 120, in good health, no less.
The study will involve about 3,000 people ages 70 to 80 who have — or are at risk for — cancer, heart disease, and cognitive impairment. Some will get the drug and others will get a placebo, but no one will know which group they’re in (in other words, it’s a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial). The research will start in 2016 and follow participants for five or six years to see if the pill helps delay the onset or progression of these conditions, or extends their lives.
If the trial is successful and the drug is widely adopted, you’ll have to work way past age 67, but think of all the extra years you’ll have to dye your hair purple, draw on your eyebrows, and yell at those whippersnappers to get off your lawn.