A new study in which scientists extended the lifespan of laboratory mice by 23% through a special protein may pave the way for humans to celebrate 120th birthdays, its authors said.
Israeli scientists have boosted the supply of SIRT6 protein – which “controls the rate of healthy aging,”but usually declines in the system with age – in 250 mice and achieved some incredible results. The life expectancy of their test subjects not only increased by 23%, but they were also more youthful and less susceptible to cancer compared to ordinary mice, a peer-reviewed paper, recently published in the Nature Communications journal, has revealed.
“The changes we saw in mice may be translatable to humans, and if so that would be exciting,” Prof. Haim Cohen of Bar-Ilan University, who spearheaded the research, told the Times of Israel newspaper.
If humans receive an equivalent protein boost their average life expectancy could reach almost 120 years, he said. In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the UN estimated the average life expectancy was 72.6 years.
Cohen’s lab is currently looking for ways to safely increase the levels of SIRT6 protein in people. The mice were genetically modified, but humans would require drugs to achieve the same effect.