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Novel Compounds May Battle Diseases of Aging

Rodent trials suggest they could protect against type 2 diabetes

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Experimental compounds aimed at treating diseases such as type 2 diabetes show promise, scientists say.

These "novel chemical entities" activate SIRT1, a gene controlling the aging process, the researchers report in the Nov. 29 issue of Nature.

In obese mice, these compounds improved insulin sensitivity, lowered plasma glucose levels, and increased the function of mitochondria (the powerhouse of cells).

In rats, the compounds improved whole body glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in fat tissue, skeletal muscle, and the liver.

The experimental compounds were developed and tested by Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

"The new drug candidates represent a significant milestone because they are the first molecules that have been designed to act on genes that control the aging process. For this reason, we feel they have considerable potential to treat diseases of aging such as Type 2 diabetes," Dr. Cristoph Westphal, chief executive officer and vice chair of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, said in a prepared statement.

He said the results from the rodent tests highlight the potential of these new compounds to treat aging-related diseases, and the company hopes to begin human studies of one of the compounds in the first half of 2008.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at healthy aging.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc., news release, Nov. 28, 2007

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