Programmed Aging Theory Information Anti-Aging Research - NIH/NIA Interventions Testing Program



The U.S. National Institutes of Health/ National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA) has an Interventions Testing Program (ITP):


“NIA's ITP is a multi-institutional study investigating treatments with the potential to extend lifespan and delay disease and dysfunction in mice. Such treatments include: Pharmaceuticals, Nutraceuticals, Foods, Diets, Dietary supplements, Plant extracts, Hormones, Peptides, Amino acids, Chelators, Redox agents, Other agents or mixtures of agents.”


NIH accepts proposals suggesting specific agents for testing: “Individuals who wish to suggest ("sponsor") an intervention are asked to provide a rationale as to why they believe the intervention will delay aging or reduce the risk of late-life disease. The rationale may include previous experimental data on mice, cells, people, or other animals that are relevant to the proposal.”


The agents are redundantly tested in three independent laboratories: “The experiments are conducted in three research laboratories: one at the Jackson Laboratories [Bar Harbor Maine], one at the University of Michigan, and one at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio.”


Although they carefully avoid using that term, NIH/NIA is obviously conducting a search for mammal anti-aging agents and protocols. This signals increasing acceptance of the idea that aging, per se, is a treatable condition and that major symptoms of aging have a treatable common cause as predicted by programmed aging theories.


There are some significant limitations:

- NIH/NIA can currently only accept four or five new agents per year.

- The study protocol is designed to provide an 80 percent chance of detecting a 10 percent increase in longevity.

- Only orally administered agents are considered. Many programmed aging proponents think that blood agents such as hormones or other blood factors are important in providing signaling needed by a programmed aging mechanism. Many or most of these agents would need to be administered by injection into the blood stream or possibly by injection into a body cavity or lavage.

- Testing an agent at multiple doses is resource-equivalent to testing multiple agents at a single dose. Picking the wrong dose risks getting a false negative result.


NIH/NIA Interventions Testing Program


Published Results of the ITP


Here is an early result report:

 “Here we report that rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway, extends median and maximal lifespan of both male and female mice when fed beginning at 600 days of age. On the basis of age at 90% mortality, rapamycin led to an increase of 14% for females and 9% for males. The effect was seen at three independent test sites in genetically heterogeneous mice, chosen to avoid genotype-specific effects on disease susceptibility.” [1][2]


[1] Harrison D, et al. Rapamycin fed late in life extends lifespan in genetically heterogeneous mice. Nature 460, 392-395 (16 July 2009) doi:10.1038/nature08221 Received 9 April 2009

[2]Lifespan (90 percent mortality) of the control male/female UM HET-3 mice is 1094/1159 days. Median lifespan increases of as much as m/f 23/26 percent have been seen. Miller RA et al. Aging Cell (2014) 13, pp468–477

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