Existing Pill Reactivates Aging Immune Systems Youthful Mechanisms

credit: iStockphoto/Henrik JonssonUCSF researchers led by Edward J. Goetzl, MD at UCSF and the National Institute on Aging, believe they have an existing medication that could restore aging immune systems, extending the period of healthy aging.

Extremely low doses of the drug lenalidomide reactivate the body’s immune-cell protein factories, diminishing inflammation that leads to a steady decline in good health.

In 2009 Dr. Goetzl studied a group of 50 elderly adults, discovering that truly healthy 70-80 year old women had the same levels of key cytokines as healthy 20 year olds. Their immune systems were in balance.

In the new study, extremely low levels of lenalidomide optimally stimulated healthy production of key cytokine IL-2  in young people (21-40 years) roughly sevenfold but stimulated production in patients over age 65 by 120-fold, restoring them to youthful levels for up to five days. The drug had other beneficial impacts on cytokine balances.

The team will launch a much larger clinical trial in 2011 with hopes of moving quickly to gain FDA approval for taking this low-dose pill that could restore aging immune systems. via Science Daily