British patients suffering
from a rare disease will be among the first to try a new
drug based on the "magic ingredient" in red wine,
reports The Time of London.
A small trial in Newcastle upon Tyne will
test resveratrol, a chemical that could lead to a whole
family of new drugs with powerful effects against the diseases
of ageing. The proprietary version of resveratrol, SRT501,
is also under trial in India for use against diabetes and
newer versions hundreds of times more powerful are in the
The new drugs come from research showing
that all species live longer on a calorie-restricted diet.
So long as there is adequate nutrition, cutting calories
by 40 per cent prolongs lifespan by 50 per cent or more
– in yeast, mice, rats and every other species so
The 30 patients in the trial will be divided
into two groups, with half given SRT501 and half a placebo.
The aim is to test safety and to investigate, using magnetic
resonance imaging and muscle biopsies, whether the mitochondria
are multiplied. Patients' muscle strength and endurance
will also be measured. "The animal evidence is quite
compelling," says Professor Chinnery, Professor of
Neurogenetics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and
a specialist in mitochondrial diseases, who is running the
trial. "I'm convinced it's worth a go."
There is a strong suspicion that mitochondria
could also be involved in diabetes, a market worth more
than $20 billion (almost £10 billion) a year.
Peter Elliott, senior vice-president for
drug development at Sirtris which developed SRT501, says
'the company has gone to India for its first trials because
the disease is exploding there and it wanted to test the
drug in patients with new diagnoses who had not been treated
with anything else.'
Full report, highly technical in nature
can be viewed on: