Researchers at Columbia University are conducting a study to examine the potential of rapamycin, an anti-aging drug, in the context of women’s reproductive health. Led by genetics professor Yousin Suh and Dr. Zev Williams, the research aims to determine whether rapamycin could aid in conserving women’s eggs and delaying the onset of menopause, with possible implications for overall health and longevity.
The success of this research could contribute to the development of a new class of drugs called geroprotectors, designed to maintain health and youthfulness as individuals age. Ovarian aging is associated with a variety of health issues in women, including compromised immune function, reduced bone density, and increased risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders. Earlier onset of menopause has also been linked to shorter lifespans.
The study focuses on the enzyme mTOR, which is involved in regulating the release of eggs in young, healthy ovaries. Rapamycin, an immune-suppressing drug, targets mTOR, and it is hypothesized that by modulating this process, rapamycin could slow down reproductive aging. This may potentially extend the fertility window for women and delay menopause.
However, the researchers note the importance of determining the appropriate dosage of rapamycin, as excessive inhibition of mTOR could halt ovulation entirely, negating any benefits to fertility.
Previous studies have demonstrated that rapamycin can improve health and extend the lifespan of aging flies, mice, and worms. Suh asserts that rapamycin’s ability to promote health and longevity in animal models has been well-established.
The study is being conducted during a period of rapid progress in the field of aging research, with the potential of geroprotectors garnering increasing interest. As the global population experiences unprecedented aging, understanding the mechanisms of aging and developing strategies to maintain overall health and youthfulness are of growing importance.
If the Columbia University research yields positive results, rapamycin could play a significant role in the field of women’s reproductive health and contribute to the advancement of geroprotective drugs that promote healthy aging.