London: An American research team is claiming to have found a potential target to extend lifespan, but is yet to start trials on humans.
The potential cure for age is a drug, which protects telomeres, sections of DNA long thought to be the key to the ageing process.
However, the treatment is not yet considered safe for humans, and may first be tested on dogs and cats by being added to pet food.
Scientists think that ageing is caused by the telomeres- an enzyme which apparently reverses the ageing process - in our genes shortening over the course of our lifetime.
Now, the team led by Bill Andrews thinks it has found a way to slow or even reverse this shrinkage, according to the Sunday Times. This could be the secret to a longer life.
The new findings suggest that nearly 40 different substances could contribute to the production of this enzyme.
“Inducing cells to produce telomerase would be a great medical advance,” the Daily Mail quoted Dr Andrews as saying.
“The substances we have found can achieve this but we have to be cautious and there is no chance of getting medical approval for human use for some years.
“For pets, however, the rules are much less stringent - and the market is potentially huge,” he added.
The study will be presented at a conference in Cambridge.