Live longer breakthrough - new jab could lead to '50% reduction in ageing'

Mr What

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Oct 22, 2016

Live longer breakthrough - new jab could lead to '50% reduction in ageing'​

Express UKDec 27, 2023 11:02 AM

Scientists have found how to target a disease protein that underlines health problems associated with ageing.​


An injectable treatment that promises a dramatic reduction in ageing is being created (Image: GETTY)

A new jab promises a dramatic reduction in ageing. The longevity breakthrough is said to improve joints, heart, sight and retention of muscle mass.

It could even help your hair be less grey and shield against age-related hair loss. The advancement from Singapore startup VVB Bio works by targeting a single cytokine called IL-11.

While cytokines are used by the body to send signals, IL-11 seems to be a rogue operator. This particular cytokine appears to tell organs to age.

Stuart Cook, co-founder of VVB Bio, told Mewburn Ellis: “We found it by fluke. We made a serendipitous observation six years ago while profiling a mouse as a control.

“It showed high levels of a protein called interleukin 11, or IL-11. We discovered it is basically a disease protein. It causes badness wherever it is.”


The jab works by targeting a single cytokine called IL-11 (Image: GETTY)

The researchers noticed that as mice and humans age, the amount of IL-11 goes up. Cook said: “It causes diseases in tissues. It causes fibrosis. It causes your kidneys to stop functioning properly. Stops your hearing working, your sight, your hair to go grey and you to lose your hair. All the things that happen when you age.”

This is where the new jab steps in with a promise to delete the IL11 gene.
Sebastian Schäfer, VVB Bio co-founder, explained that they are currently creating an injectable antibody treatment.

Schäfer said: “You’ll be able to have a jab once every six months. The antibodies bind to IL-11 and switch it off. This removes all the bad effects of it in your body.”

The scientists explained that the jab isn’t about eternal youth, it merely focuses on improving your health span.

Cook said: “It’s about the quality of your health during your life, not the total number of years that matter.
The expert noted that there’s a difference between your chronological age, which goes up every time you celebrate another birthday, and epigenetic age.

Cook added: “If you are, say, a 47-year-old who smokes, drinks, raves and barely sleeps, you might have an epigenetic age of 57. If you are a 47-year-old who eats carrots, sleeps well and goes for a run every day, you might have a biological or epigenetic age of 42.”

Based on this, they ran a test on mice. Looking at two groups, where one set of animal models had IL11 gene deleted by genetic modification and the other was given a placebo, they noticed that modified mice were an estimated 55 weeks younger in epigenetic age.

Cook said: “They are ageing less than half as fast as normal mice. It’s a really massive reduction.” What’s more, they suggested that the results are likely to be replicated in humans.

Cook said: “We see a one-to-one relationship between mice and humans for all things IL-11. We would expect to see, when IL-11 is inhibited, all the same effects. Less age-related obesity, better retention of muscle mass, joints are better, heart is better, sight is better, you are less grey, you lose less hair.”

Manufacturing of the antibody will begin next year and clinical trials are set to start in 2025. Depending on the results, the anti-ageing antibody treatment for IL-11 could be commercially available roughly at the end of the decade.

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