Scientists in the US have made a major anti-ageing breakthrough after extending the life of the world’s oldest lab rat.
‘Sima’, named after the Hindi word for ‘limit’ or ‘boundary,’ has lived for 47 months.
The rodent has surpassed the 45.5-month record for a female Sprague-Dawley rat, outliving her closest rival in the study by six months.
Dr Harold Katcher, chief scientific officer at California-based startup Yuvan Research, said:
“The real point of our experiments is not so much to extend lifespan, but to extend youthspan, to rejuvenate people, to make their golden years really potentially golden years, instead of years of pain and decrepitude.
“If you manage to do that, you also manage to lengthen life and that’s not a bad side-effect”.
According to the data, eight rats that received placebo infusions of saline lived for 34 to 38 months.
Meanwhile, eight rats that received the E5 blood plasma treatment lived for between 38 and 47 months.
A previous experiment found that the E5 therapy caused a 54 percent rejuvenation in male rats.
Then-UCLA professor Dr Steve Horvath who performed the epigenetic clock analysis described the results as ‘stunning’.
The scientist said:
“I think the results are stunning.
“Some people will criticise the results due to the low sample size. One swallow does not make a summer.
“But I believe the results because several complementary studies support them.”
If the therapy ever shows promise in humans, the plasma to make the treatment could be collected from abattoir pigs.
However, Katcher is not keen on the idea.
The researcher said:
“But it’s no more unethical than eating a meat sandwich.
“When those pigs are killed they still have a lot of life in them.
“We just use that extra life instead of throwing it away.”