Saudi Arabia seeks immortality. Fund a test with a common drug, prescribed for diabetics, that could stimulate longevity

Saudi Arabia seeks immortality.  Fund a test with a common drug, prescribed for diabetics, that could stimulate longevity

Saudi Arabia, the oil kingdom, is suffering from degenerative diseases of an overly rich life. The country’s population is aging faster than in other parts of the world. As a result, he plans to spend no less than $ 1 billion a year on discovering treatments and technologies that will slow down aging.

Anyone who has more money than they can spend is finally trying to cure aging. Google founder Larry Page tried this. Jeff Bezos, the same. Technology billionaires like Larry Ellison and Peter Thiel have also tried. Now, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has about as much money as all of them put together, will try to investigate immortality.

The Saudi royal family has set up a non-profit organization called the Hevolution Foundationwhich intends to spend up to $ 1 billion a year to support research into the biology of aging and to find ways to extend the number of years people live in good health, a concept known as “Healthy life expectancy”.

If the Saudis manage to spend that amount, the Gulf state could become the largest sponsor of research trying to understand the underlying causes of aging and how it could be slowed down by drugs. The idea, which is popular among scientists who specialize in longevity, is that slowing down the aging process of the body can delay the onset of many diseases and prolong the “healthy years” that people can enjoy as they go. getting older.

Metformin and the poi-scientific hypothesis

The Foundation says that the Fund is authorized to spend up to $ 1 billion a year indefinitely and that it will be able to financially support biotechnology companies. Hevolution intends to fund a $ 100 million prize for rejuvenation technologies and has reached a preliminary agreement to fund a test with a medicine called metformin on a few thousand elderly people.

This agreement, if finalized, would be a demonstration of what is being called “The Gero-scientific hypothesis”, that is, the idea – still unproven – that some drugs, through modifying the aging processes inside the cellscould delay many diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

The term “science fiction” was popularized by Felipe Sierra, the former head of the gerontology division at the US National Institutes of Health, who was recently hired as Hevolution’s scientific director.

The Saudi government is partly motivated by the belief that aging diseases pose a specific threat to the country’s future. There is evidence that people living in the Gulf states are aging biologically rather than chronologically. Basically, the country is plagued by the diseases of wealth caused by rich diets and too little exercise. Even though Saudi Arabia has a relatively young population, with an average age of about 31, it is facing increasing rates of obesity and diabetes.

As for him metforminit is an old medicine, but one that has recently aroused interest, because a large study of British medical records has shown that diabetics who took it lived longer than doctors expected – even more than healthy people. But no one did not prove that metformin really works to stimulate longevity.

A long-term study of diabetics, published this year, found that the drug did not lead, for example, to any protection against heart problems. But even if metformin does not delay aging, research could make it easier for other drugs in the field of science to be included in human studies.

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