Dogs owners are feeding their dogs cheap pills to help them live longer — if it works, it could be an anti-aging fix for people too

Jake the golden retriever got a delicious glob of peanut butter with five small tablets concealed inside it every Wednesday morning for an entire calendar year: two blue, two white, and one orange.

Currently, Dennis the dog follows a modified Wednesday morning schedule. a delicious piece of string cheese with two white and one blue small tablet squished inside.

Although nobody is certain of this just yet, it's conceivable that these delicious treats, which are laced with unknown pills, are contributing to the older canines' longer and better lives. Additionally, they may ultimately contribute to the longevity of people.

Tens of thousands of canines across the country took part in the Dog Aging Project, a multi-phase, multi-year research, including Dennis and Jake, both 10 years old. As part of the project's investigation into whether the cancer and transplant medication rapamycin can extend the lifespan of dogs, Jake and Dennis are participants in one strictly regulated research.

Researchers will also be examining whether rapamycin can help dogs mature more healthily and fitly during the trial. If the study is effective, it might also have significant implications for people. Rapamycin, a potential anti-aging medication that could help humans and their dogs live longer, better lives, is thought by researchers to be akin to a pill version of the fountain of youth.

"Wishful thinking" or dogs with more vitality and less gray hair?

Dennis and Jake are two of the more than 85 dogs currently taking part in the rapamycin research, officially known as TRIAD. (Test of Rapamycin in Aging Dogs.) Teams of veterinarians are involved in the study, which is being conducted at least 15 various trial locations across the country, from New York to Texas, Colorado, and — shortly — California. Researchers studying aging Daniel Promislow and Matt Kaeberlein at the University of Washington and Texas A&M veterinarian Kate Creevy are leading the initiative. They aim to enlist 580 canines in the study by 2025 and complete it by 2028.

Jake's proprietor Timothy Cleary said, "They collect blood, urine, fecal samples, and they do blood pressure.

Jake "is getting more thorough physicals than I do," Cleary said, alluding to the six-monthly examinations the canine receives at the University of Georgia, which can last up to four hours.

The study's researchers, the canines, and their owners have no means of knowing the precise dosage the dogs are taking, or even if they are taking any medication at all. While some canines receive the medication for the research, the other dogs receive placebo tablets. In this manner, scientists hope to determine the true impact of this medication on the life expectancy of dogs.

Cleary admits that it might be "wishful thinking," but he's sure that his canine changed after taking the pills for a few months.

He just seemed to have more vitality, said Cleary, "We'd throw a little lacrosse ball in the backyard, and I'd see him jumping off our rock wall."

Veronica Munsey, Dennis's owner, added, "This could be totally wishful thinking," but she's 99% sure that Dennis's hair, which had been turning gray for a while, started to darken again after he started taking the weekly tablets.

The ideal lab mate for men

Rapamycin has been used for many years to treat adult renal transplant recipients. By preventing cancer cells from procreating, it can also aid in the therapy of some cancers that are immune to treatment, as found more recently by drug makers. It aids in the suppression of important immune system components, slows the development of things like tumors, and activates a cellular cleaning process in the body that is comparable to fasting.

Everything here seems to be beneficial for protection to viruses, including the flu and perhaps COVID. Rapamycin extends the lives of fruit flies, nematodes, rodents, and water fleas, according to research.

Rapamycin's impacts on aging canines and humans are still being researched, though. The medication also carries some risks: Because rapamycin inhibits the immune system, patients taking it occasionally develop mouth sores and may experience delayed wound and cut recovery.

Because of this, studies of the medication are being conducted on canines before more extensive clinical testing in humans.

Dogs are an excellent choice for study because they are social animals and share our surroundings, according to Matt Kaeberlein, co-director of the Dog Aging Project.

Dogs, unlike yeast and flies, don't reside in labs; instead, they roll around in the grass, smell pollutants and pollen, and travel with us through drive-thrus, occasionally snatching food bits.

Because a dog's existence "mirrors the human environment," Kaeberlein said, "we have some reason to be more confident that this will actually work in people."

A biotech company is also trying anti-aging medications for canines, one of which is designed especially for larger breeds.

Not just Kaeberlein and the University of Washington crew try canine anti-aging medications.

The creator and CEO of the biotech company Loyal, Celine Halioua, is equally committed to helping canines live longer and be healthy, with the goal of eventually assisting humans in doing the same. For future studies of two various drugs for aging canines, Loyal recently obtained what Halioua thinks to be the first Food and Drug Administration-supported longevity research design. If her experiment is successful, it could be a turning point for a brand-new field of drug development, finding what experts refer to as geroprotectors, medications that could help fight mortality. Since no medication has ever been FDA-approved for the condition of aging in either humans or animals, if she is successful it could be a game-changer.

It's a crucial turning point for the field of aging because, as she told Insider, "if we want to have more anti-aging drugs, we need to have a defined clinical path for a drug going from zero to market for aging."

Loyal is constructing two distinct tablets. The first, known as LOY-001, aims to prolong the lives of larger canines by reducing the conditions that hasten their early aging. The second drug, LOY-002, is a distinct substance that, in accordance with Halioua, functions very similarly to rapamycin. Additionally, it simulates fasting, boosts a dog's metabolism, and if tests are successful, it could be used on canines of all sizes.

affordable anti-aging medications

The wonderful thing about creating medications for canines is that it's precisely the reverse of that, according to Halioua, who claims that the anti-aging field frequently receives a negative image for being "associated with billionaires who wanna live forever." If canine owners are going to use treatments, they need to be inexpensive, widely available, and extremely secure.

Our narcotics will only be paid for in cash, she declared. "We're not staking our medication promotion on insurance. Therefore, anything we create must by necessity be usable if we want it to be available at all.

She thinks that eventually the same paradigm could be applied to individuals.

My idea of an anti-aging medication is just a daily, inexpensive pill that the overwhelming majority of Americans over the age of 50 take to lessen their chance and severity of developing age-related illnesses in the future, she said. It's sort of like the best form of prophylactic medication.

Kaeberlein agrees with Halioua that yes, it would be wonderful to have an inexpensive salve for age-related decline in people some day, particularly one that costs just a few dollars per tablet. He isn't ashamed to confess that he's already tested rapamycin out on his own aging joints. Even though that might not be feasible, he would still be happy with study that extends the lives of dogs like his own and other canines.

It would be great, he said, "if we can extend the healthy lifespan of pet dogs." "If we have that impact, I'm a dog person and I can say I've accomplished something significant in my career."