What if you could give your dog a drug that would extend his life and give you a little more time to enjoy him? Would you do it?
According to the Daily Mail, a team of scientists led by Dr. Bill Andrews, head of Sierra Sciences, has created a drug to protect telomeres, sections of DNA responsible for affecting the aging process, which in turn could increase the lifespan of your best friend.
Andrews and his team did not start out looking for a way for dogs to live longer – in fact, they were looking for a way to cure aging and help humans live longer.
How do dogs play into all of this? Simple – they’re the test subjects.
“The substances we have found can achieve this [longer life] but we have to be cautious, and there is no chance of getting medical approval for human use for some years. For pets, however, the rules are much less stringent – and the market is potentially huge,” Andrews told the Daily Mail.
Andrews made a name for himself by discovering telomerase, an enzyme that could potentially reverse the aging process. This led him to found a company dedicated to finding a way to induce cells to produce telomerase and keep it from decaying, or aging.
He said, “Inducing cells to produce telomerase would be a great medical advance.”
Indeed it would. However, some dogs can live to be quite old without the help of drugs to slow the aging process. Meet Pusuke, a 26-year-old, mixed-breed dog from Japan. Born in 1985, Pusuke has been declared by the Guinness World Records to be the oldest living dog. And how has he lived such a long life? Vitamins and love from his dog mom, Yumiko Shinohara.