Challenging but essential targets for genuine anti-ageing drugs.

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2003 Feb;7(1):1-5.

Challenging but essential targets for genuine anti-ageing drugs.

de Grey ADNJ.



Contrary to what one might conclude from the popular press, anti-ageing drugs do not yet exist, in the sense in which the term 'drug' is normally used. Since a drug is assumed to be effective against its target human pathology and since the vast majority of deaths in the developed world are from ageing-related causes, it is inappropriate to describe something as an anti-ageing drug unless one has good reason to believe that it will appreciably extend the life expectancy of those in the developed world who receive it. A drug that rejuvenates aspects of the aged body but does not increase life expectancy is an antifrailty drug, not an anti-ageing one. This distinction is critical for decision makers in the drug discovery sphere because, while the market for antifrailty drugs (even unproven ones) is large, that for genuine anti-ageing drugs - which, as the author explains, are now foreseeable - will certainly be far larger. In this article, the author surveys the main aspects of age-related degeneration that are believed to be essential targets for genuine anti-ageing drugs - that is, without whose amelioration human life expectancy probably cannot be greatly increased - and some promising strategies for the design of such drugs.