Scientists find natural mimetics of anti-cancer & anti-aging drugs metformin and rapamycin

Researchers from the Biogerontology Research Foundation, Insilico Medicine, Life Extension and other institutions announce the publication of a landmark study in the journal Aging on the identification of natural mimetics of metformin and rapamycin. Metformin, a common type 2 diabetes drug, and rapamycin, a common anti-rejection drug, have both been shown to have substantial anti-aging and anti-cancer effects in a variety of model organisms. However, both compounds have known side effects and are regulated drugs for existing disease indications, factors that problematize their off-label use as healthspan extending drugs.

In this study, the researchers applied deep-learned neural networks to profile the safety and gene- and pathway-level similarity of more than 800 natural compounds to metformin and rapamycin, in an effort to identify natural compounds that can mimic the effects of these anti-cancer and anti-aging drugs while remaining free of the adverse effects associated with them.

"Earlier this year we launched Young.AI, a comprehensive system utilizing the recent advances in deep learning for tracking a variety of aging biomarkers. I hope that the consumers using the Longevity A.I. will start using it. One of the goals of our group is to identify the combinations of molecules that achieve the desired effects" said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, co-author of the study, founder of Insilico Medicine and Chief Science Officer of the Biogerontology Research Foundation.

Their analysis identified many novel candidate metformin and rapamycin mimetics that have been previously unreported as such. In particular, they identified allantoin and ginsenoside as strong mimetics of metformin, epigallocatechin gallate and isoliquiritigenin as strong mimetics of rapamycin, and withaferin A as a strong mimetic of both. Additionally, their analysis also identified four previously unexplored natural compounds as fairly strong mimetic of rapamycin.

"Aging is not recognized as a disease, so we need strong potential geroprotectors of natural origin on the market. Supplements that slow down aging, affecting the key mechanisms of aging at the molecular and cellular level" said Alexey Moskalev, PhD, a co-author of the study.

These findings are significant because, as naturally occurring compounds, such nutraceuticals are not subject to regulation by the FDA and other regulatory bodies. Furthermore, because the researchers induced a deep-learning based classification of the safety profiles associated with these compounds, the novel candidate mimetics the study identified are likely to have less adverse effects than metformin and rapamycin, though this needs to be further validated by clinical testing.

"This study is significant not only for the identification of novel candidate mimetics of metformin and rapamycin, which as natural compounds are not subject to regulatory bodies like the FDA and which have higher-scoring safety profiles as indicated by our deep-learned safety profile classification analysis, but also for demonstrating particularly powerful screening methods that can be applied to the identification of novel and safe mimetics of other known anti-cancer and healthspan-extending drugs and compounds" said Franco Cortese, co-author of the study and Deputy Director of the Biogerontology Research Foundation.

Aliper A, Jellen L, Cortese F, Artemov A, Karpinsky-Semper D, Moskalev A, Swick AG, Zhavoronkov A.
Towards natural mimetics of metformin and rapamycin.
Aging (Albany NY). 2017 Nov 15. doi: 10.18632/aging.101319.

Most Popular Now

Sanofi builds focus on rare blood disorders and ca…

Some of the most serious unmet patient needs today are in the field of hematology. Rare blood disorders and blood-related cancers continue to be a major focus of research...

Novartis rises to second place in 2018 Access to M…

Novartis ranked second in the 2018 Access to Medicine Index (ATMi), up from 3rd place in 2016, in recognition of its long-standing efforts to improve worldwide access to ...

FDA approves first treatment for Lambert-Eaton mya…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Firdapse (amifampridine) tablets for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) in adults. LEMS is a r...

Pfizer reaches a global agreement with AbbVie

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) has signed licensing agreements with AbbVie, resolving all global intellectual property matters for Pfizer's proposed adalimumab biosimilar. Under ...

FDA grants breakthrough device designation to arti…

Bayer announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Device Designation to the Artificial Intelligence Software for Chronic Thrombo...

FDA approves new treatment for patients with acute…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Daurismo (glasdegib) tablets to be used in combination with low-dose cytarabine (LDAC), a type of chemotherapy, for t...

U.S. FDA approves Larotrectinib, the first TRK inh…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved larotrectinib, the first oral TRK inhibitor, under the brand name Vitrakvi®. The approval is for the treatment of...

GSK reaches agreement to acquire TESARO, an oncolo…

GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) and TESARO Inc (NASDAQ: TSRO) announced that the Companies have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which GSK will acquire...

Merck and Pfizer provide update on avelumab in pla…

Merck and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced that the Phase III JAVELIN Ovarian 200 trial evaluating avelumab* alone or in combination with pegylated liposomal doxor...

Bristol-Myers Squibb awards "Golden Tickets…

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) and LabCentral, an innovative, shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for life-sciences and biotech startups, today anno...

Alcon to highlight its vision, strategy and benefi…

Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis, will today hold its first Capital Markets Day for investors and analysts in relation to the previously-announced intention of No...

New study reveals probiotics do not help children …

Probiotics are a multibillion-dollar industry with marketing claims of being an effective treatment for a multitude of ailments, including diarrhea. However, findings fro...