This was interesting research in anti aging. UK scientists believe an existing drug may help to treat a premature ageing disease called progeria, in which children age up to eight times as fast as the usual rate.
Researchers at Durham University say that the disease is partly caused by DNA damage defects in cells, which occurs when the cells come under oxidative stress.
Their research suggests that a drug called N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) – which is widely used and well tolerated – helps to control the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA damage.
Although it did not affect some other aspects of cell stress, a combination of NAC and other currently used drugs may help to treat children with progeria.
The findings are published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics and could have important implications.
Professor Chris Hutchison explained: ‘In children with progeria, we can see that double-strand breaks in the DNA architecture of cells increase, which in turn adds to poor rates of cell growth.
‘Our treatment of these cells with the drug N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) reversed both of these effects.’
Progeria is a rare condition that is known to affect 78 children in 31 countries around the world.
All children with the condition die of heart disease, typically at around 13 years of age.