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UW researchers test drug to see if it extends a dog's life

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Haus, a German Shepherd, recovers from a snake bite at Blue Pearl in Tampa, Florida.


Researchers at the University of Washington are testing a drug to see if it would extend a dog's life. The drug, rapamycin, has lengthened the lives of laboratory mice. The long-term aim of the research is to find ways to treat illnesses that come with age in humans.

KIRO-TV and The Seattle Times report the drug has improved heart health and appears to have delayed the onset of some diseases in older mice. They're hoping it will do the same for dogs.

The idea is that instead of developing treatments for the individual maladies that people get as they age, scientists want to address the biology of ageing itself.

That's because the diseases that kill the most people in developed nations, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer, have different causes, and age is the major risk factor for all of them.

Some scientists believe a drug that slows ageing might delay the onset of several major diseases at once.