A pharmaceutical company has developed drugs that hold the potential of treating diseases of aging, including Type 2 Diabetes, by targeting SIRT1, a gene that controls the aging process.
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat diseases of aging.
Sirtris scientists and Sirtris co-founder, Prof. David Sinclair from Harvard Medical School, had earlier found that resveratrol, a SIRT1 activator found in red wine, could reduce the impact of a high fat diet, increase stamina two fold and significantly extend lifespan.
It was estimated that a person would need to drink 1000 bottles of red wine to obtain an equivalent dose of resveratrol.
Christoph Westphal, Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals said that the new drug has considerable potential to treat diseases of aging such as Type 2 Diabetes.
"The new drug candidates represent a significant milestone because they are the first molecules that have been designed to act on genes that control the aging process," Westphal said
"The breakthrough in potency we have achieved with the novel chemical entities (NCEs) means that we can obtain the health benefits of resveratrol with a considerably lower dose, " he added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that Type 2 Diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes) results from the body's ineffective use of insulin.
It accounts for 90percent of diabetes around the world, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.
The lead author of the Nature study Jill C. Milne said that they are quite excited over the findings.
"We are very excited about these findings. The novel drug candidates we have identified are the most potent SIRT1 activators ever to be published -- 1,000 times more potent than resveratrol -- and can potentially unlock a whole new approach to treating Type 2 Diabetes," said Milne.
"Now we have an even more potent way of eliciting the beneficial effects observed in earlier research with resveratrol. The NCEs characterized in this study are significantly more potent than and structurally unrelated to resveratrol. These findings highlight the tremendous potential of our NCE program to treat diseases of aging, and we look forward to advancing one of these promising new compounds into human clinical studies in the first half of 2008," Westphal added.
Sirtuins are a recently-discovered family of enzymes that promote the body's natural defense against disease.