What if you could take a pill in your final days that will suddenly restore you and extend your life for years - would you do it?
What if it was your fur baby? Your beloved pup, in his final days with not much time left, would you give him this pill?
Paola Anderson did. Her little, Pomsky, Sherman was given just two weeks to live after a sever stroke that left him so weak, he could barely feed himself.
Little Sherman could have had surgery to repair his weak heart, but he only had a 20% chance of survival. So, his "mom" sought the advice of her herbalist. After some research, the herbalist suggested a possible, but unconventional treatment.
CNN reports that it was originally used as a cancer treatment, but scientists have been studying its other benefits: anti-aging properties. After almost ten years of research, scientists have determined that it extends the lives of mice up to 60% longer and now they're trying it out as an anti-aging drug in dogs and humans.
Anderson and her partner wanted to try the drug under the guidance of a veterinarian, but many turned them away. Sherman was just too old and too sick for this treatment. Five vets refused, but a sixth agreed to take his case if he could consult with Matt Kaeberlein.
Kaeberlein is the co-director of the Dog Aging Project, who has been researching the affects of treating aging dogs with rapamycin.
After an appropriate dose was agreed upon for little Sherman, his treatment started and within days,
"The third day after taking rapamycin, he could eat on his own. By the seventh day, he was walking on his own," Anderson said.
They were so impressed with little Sherman's transformation, that they tried the treatment on their other pup, Momo. Although the wasn't as sick as Sherman, he was a getting achy and his 13-year-old body was starting to slow down.
Now, Sherman and Momo run for hours together with dogs half their age!
Great! Can humans take it?
Well, yes, but not yet.
Testing has been limited, but promising. A group of 218 seniors were given rapamycin and it enhanced their response to the flu vaccine by 20%. In theory, the drug "may have beneficial effects" that boosts immune function.
Don't rush out for this drug yet - even the studies on dogs are still in their early stages, there are still serious side-effects including : cancer, diabetes, and infections.
Although it does have some promising benefits, there is no guarantee that it will be our fountain of youth.
Kaeberlein stresses that it is better to think of this drug terms of a treatment that will delay the onset of diseases of aging. Diseases such as dementia or heart disease.
You can read more about the drug in CNN's full article here. What do you think? If you could take it, would you? Would you give it to your pup?