In this health video imagine a world without cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer's. Doctors say it may not be as far off as we think part 1/2.
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Jennifer Matthews: The end of the road comes fast! But what if you could get an extra mile or two, or decade or two, out of your life? This bottle may hold the key. David Sinclair: What were talking about is a single pill that you can take every day that would ward off most diseases. Jennifer Matthews: Harvard scientist David Sinclair and his business partner, Christoph Westphal, believe they have found an elixir for a longer life. Christoph Westphal: Were talking about treating a very large set of very important diseases. Really, most of the key killers of most of the western world. Jennifer Matthews: Its something found in red wine that destroys diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer. David Sinclair: Resveratrol is a molecule that comes from plants, and the way we think it works is it binds to a protein in our cells that combats diseases of aging. Jennifer Matthews: Resveratrol activates a gene called SIRT1. Christoph Westphal: When you activate SIRT1, which is this anti-aging gene, you seem to be able to treat disease of aging, such as diabetes. Jennifer Matthews: SIRT1 is activated by cutting calories. Mice live much longer when they are fed a diet with 30 percent to 40 percent fewer calories. Resveratrol mimics caloric restriction without the strict diet that few people are able to maintain. David Sinclair: What will happen o hope is that doctors will start to prescribe this drug for diabetes, but doctors will also start to find that this drug starts to do other things like protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's. Thats really what the animal models are predicting. In mice, we see this same molecule, Resveratrol, protect against all of these major diseases. Jennifer Matthews: But nobody knows that Resveratro will be toxic when take by humans. Mice have consumed 400 ml of Resveratro per kilogram of body weight without ill effect. In fact the rodents became sleek, slim, and powerful athletic. David Sinclair: We think that Resveratrol from red wine is just the beginning. Its more of just a proof of whats possible and what is to come Jennifer Matthews: If the answer isn't in this pill, scientists around the globe are banking on nanotechnology to add years to everyones life. These tiny robots would exist inside the human body, small enough to assemble and re-assemble molecular parts to detect and even prevent disease. Nanotechnology is being used now Germany to kill prostate cancer. Molecules so tiny you cannot see them with the human eye are injected into the prostate. Manfred Johannsen: They have been shown not only to infiltrate tissues if you inject them directly into a tumor, but also, they can selectively go into tumor cells. Jennifer Matthews: The nanoparticles are heated to extremely high temperatures by a magnetic field, literally burning out the cancer. Manfred Johannsen: This green is the prostate and the blue spots are nanoparticle deposits Jennifer Matthews: But this is just the beginning of nanotechnology. Manfred Johannsen: We would like to inject them into the veins and they would find their way into the organ that needs to be treated. Jennifer Matthews: At Johns Hopkins, researchers have encapsulated the anti-cancer agent curcumin in nanoparticles. At Northwestern, paralyzed mice were injected with nanoliquid. Six weeks later, they could walk. Right now, both are just in studies, but we could realize the benefits of nanotechnology in the next 10 to 20 years. David Sinclair: Our goal is to keep people out of nursing homes, rather than extend the time that they are in nursing homes. Jennifer Matthews: But neither of these breakthroughs is a guarantee. David Sinclair: Its very hard to make living things live forever. The ravages of time are very hard on the body. Jennifer Matthews: But we want to make sure were on the road as long as possible, and by eliminating disease, we can make our life's journey last even longer. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.