The National Institutes of Health has awarded the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation $3 million to continue the study of the anti-aging abilities of a diabetes drug.
The five-year grant will allow OMRF physiologist Benjamin Miller, Ph.D., to continue his investigation of the ability of metformin, the world’s most prescribed diabetes drug, to slow the biological process of aging.
Aging is a leading risk factor for many diseases, but people can lessen the impacts of aging with appropriate diet and exercise. Because many people find dietary changes and exercise challenging, there are ongoing searches for medications that may mimic those effects.
“We know exercise slows the aging process, but this drug could be an alternative for otherwise healthy people who don’t get much movement,” Miller said.
The study will observe metformin’s impact on animal models with different fitness levels. Investigators designed the study after surprising results that also led to an ongoing OMRF clinical trial of metformin in humans.
“Our studies have shown that there may be people who benefit from the metformin treatment and others who do not,” Miller said. “Our goal is to help determine who may benefit and better target the treatment to slow the onset of chronic diseases.”
Finding the right context for anti-aging metformin treatment is critical as this use for the drug grows, Miller said. This study will help identify groups who may see the greatest positive impact and who should skip this treatment to avoid adverse effects.
Miller is continuing to recruit participants for the ongoing clinical trial. The study is now focused on participants aged 40-75 who have higher-than-normal blood sugar, a body mass index above 30, or are not physically active. Participants must also not be taking glucose-lowering agents.
Volunteers will first undergo a health screening. If enrolled, participants’ visits during the 12-week study may include blood tests, muscle biopsies, bone density scans and insulin sensitivity tests.
To participate or for more information, visit www.omrf.org/metformin or contact Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources at 405-271-3480 or [email protected].
Funding for the research is provided by the National Institute on Aging, a part of the NIH. Grant No. R01AG074502-01A1 will support the new study, and R01AG064951 continues to fund the clinical trial.