Researchers at the University of Washington are raising money and recruiting dogs for a study that might extend dogs’ lives.
From the Dog Aging Project’s website:
We believe that improving healthy lifespan in pet dogs is a worthy goal in and of itself. To be clear, our goal is to extend the period of life in which dogs are healthy, not prolong the already difficult older years. Imagine what you could do with an additional two to five years with your beloved pet in the prime of his or her life. This is within our reach today, with your help.
The drug they are seeking to test is rapamycin, which is FDA-approved for other purposes already:
At high doses, rapamycin is used successfully in human patients to prevent organ transplant rejection and to fight cancer. At low doses, rapamycin slows aging and extends lifespan in several organisms, including mice, with few or no side effects.
The first phase of this study will enroll middle-aged dogs (6-9 years depending on breed) in a short-term (3-6 month), low-dose rapamycin regimen and follow age-related parameters such as heart function, immune function, activity, body weight, and cognitive measures. These animals will then be followed throughout life to determine whether there are significant improvements in healthy aging and lifespan.