Ibuprofen, a common over-the-counter drug used to relieve pain and fever, could hold the keys to a longer healthier life, according to a study by researchers at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Publishing online on December 18, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS Genetics, collaborating scientists showed that regular doses of ibuprofen extended the lifespan of yeast, worms, and fruit flies. "There is a lot to be excited about," said Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., CEO of the Buck Institute, who said treatments, given at doses comparable to those used in humans, extended lifespan an average of 15 percent in the model organisms. "Not only did all the species live longer, but the treated flies and worms appeared healthier," he said. "The research shows that ibuprofen impacts a process not yet implicated in aging, giving us a new way to study and understand the aging process." But most importantly, Dr. Kennedy said the study opens the door for a new exploration of so-called "anti-aging medicines." "Ibuprofen is a relatively safe drug, found in most people's medicine cabinets," he said. "There is every reason to believe there are other existing treatments that can impact healthspan and we need to be studying them." The work was the result of a collaboration between the Buck Institute and Texas A & M's Agrilife program. Michael Polymenis, Ph.D., an AgriLife Research biochemist started the work in baker's yeast and then moved it into worms and flies. Dr. Polymenis, who is also a professor in the biochemistry and biophysics department at Texas A&M University, said the three-year project showed that ibuprofen interferes with the ability of yeast cells to pick up tryptophan, an amino acid found in every cell of every organism.
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