At 140, Ike is the world’s oldest drug test subject
Ike also happens to be a mouse. A very long-lived one. Ike recently celebrated his 140th birthday, or at least the mouse equivalent, which works out at 1,400 days.
Ike was one of a small group of mice to get a dose of rapamycin during rodent middle age. Rapamycin is a powerful immunosuppressive drug used to control rejection in organ transplants. In mice the drug appeared to extend life by up to 60% for Ike and his pals, according to study leader Matt Kaeberlein.
“It’s quite striking that short-term rapamycin treatment had such a lasting impact on health and survival after the treatment was stopped,” said Kaeberlein. Ike, he added, “might have been one of the longest-lived mice of his kind.”
However, before we start queuing for rapamycin at the clinic, there are the side effects to consider, including increased risk of cancer in female mice.
“The cautionary findings”, the researchers noted in a statement, “illustrate the need to better understanding the relationship between the dose of rapamycin and its beneficial as well as detrimental effects.”