Large dogs who have a shortened life expectancy compared to other breeds could perhaps gain a few years of presence by our side thanks to a new drug soon to be approved in the United States. The first step in anti-aging treatment for everyone?
Lovers of large breed dogs know it well, their protégés generally live shorter lives than smaller breeds: 7 to 10 years on average for a Bernese mountain dog, 10 years for a Labrador, compared to 15 to 20 years for Chihuahuas or poodles. A difference particularly linked to pathologies specific to large dogs which develop quite early. “Some scientists hypothesize that high levels of IGF-1 (a growth hormone) lead to both rapid growth and accelerated aging in large dogs, which generally have a shorter lifespan than small dogs”, noted The New York Times.
But that could well change.
A drug to target the hormone responsible for accelerated aging
Indeed, a drug called LOY-001 aimed at extending the life expectancy of large dog breeds is currently being tested in the United States. Developed by the pharmaceutical company Loyal Biotechnology, it targets the growth hormone IGF-1 secretion pathway of large dogs, 28 times higher than that of small canines. By inhibiting the secretion, these large dogs could reach the levels seen in small dogs. And thus gain years of life.
“We are not creating immortal dogs, to be clear, but we hope that the rate of aging will be slower, which means the animal will be healthier for longer, and will likely live longer.” indicated Céline Halioua, CEO of the company.
So far, the product has been successfully tested on 130 large dogs. The researchers were thus able to observe a significant reduction in IGF-1. After analysis, an improvement in several longevity parameters was noted, with very few side effects. A new test on more than 1,000 large dogs is also planned.
A treatment approved for dogs, before thinking about humans?
Beyond the tests carried out, it is the approval for the first time of such a treatment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which may mark a turning point in research into life extension. “Loyal for Dogs announced that its first-of-its-kind longevity drug has received the first of three green lights needed for FDA approval. in the United States, announced Business Insider last November 28.
The compound has not yet met all the necessary conditions for widespread distribution, but the FDA has ruled that it already has a reasonable level of effectiveness and safety to pass further testing before commercialization. In other words, regulators are taking seriously what was considered pure science fiction just a few years ago. And this first step should be closely scrutinized by all the current startups and billionaires who are doubling their energy and technology, from cellular reprogramming to plasma transfusion, to live a little longer and in better health.
Going by the dog, Loyal Biotechnology may have found the path to makeover before the others. “The shorter life of the animal means that it will not take decades to know if a drug works,” its CEO explained to DNA magazine last February.
Commercialization of LOY-001 is expected to begin by 2026.