'Anti-ageing' medicines on the way Medicines that can help people live healthy lives to 100 and beyond may be available in as little as two years, an expert has said. The drugs have come out of research into age-related ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's. To satisfy the requirements of drug regulators and the market they are billed as remedies for specific illnesses. But in actual fact they tackle multiple causes of unhealthy ageing, according to Professor Nir Barzilai, one of the world's leading age scientists. Prof Barzilai's own work at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York has identified genetic variants that mark out people who live to a "ripe old age". The new drugs build on these discoveries, which involve biological pathways affecting metabolism, cell-death, inflammation and cholesterol. "Pharmaceutical companies are developing these drugs now," said Prof Barzilai, who joined other experts at the Royal Society in London for a discussion meeting on the science of ageing. "They will probably be available for testing from 2012." A subsidiary of drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is looking at sirtuins, a family of enzymes associated with a whole range of age-related diseases including type 2 diabetes and cancers. Another key drug target is an enzyme called cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) which affects levels of "good" cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Drugs that inhibit CETP are being developed by two other major pharmaceutical players, Merck and Roche. A small Massachusetts biotech company, Proteostasis, is investigating a third pathway involving the cell-growth chemical IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1). Although the initial aim is to develop a drug that combats Alzheimer's, the same pathway is thought to play a role in Parkinson's, motor neurone disease and Huntington's. Yet another target is a protein called humanin which has links to the way insulin affects metabolism. All these pipeline approaches herald a new era of longevity, said Prof Barzilai. Mtazamo: Tuimbapo kila siku "Mbinguni kuna makao mazuri sana" nani atakwenda iwapo kila kukicha tuna hangaika kupata mbinu ya kutufanya tuishi duniani milele?..