Fixing DNA replication with NAD+
In recent years, there has been a push to get humanity out onto other planets.
In space, though, humans are under a constant barrage of x-rays and other kinds of dangerous radiation. Even on Earth itself, during long plane journeys, the plane can get high enough that the people inside get the equivalent radiation to a chest x-ray.
This radiation damages the DNA in all cells of the body. Anyone hoping to go to Mars has a close to 100% chance of having cancer by the time they get there.
In order to solve this issue, NASA held a competition.
Out of the three hundred or so entrants, one team stood out enormously, with a solution that has very far-reaching possibilities.
Professors David Sinclair and Lindsay Wu expanded on previous work to come up with a drug which helps boost the repair of DNA and appears to completely rejuvenate cells.
David was already known for his research into the effects of resveratrol (found in small amounts in red wine) on activation of the anti-aging enzyme SIRT1.
The new drug they found, NMN, which converts to NAD+ in the body, helps to activate all seven of the SIRT enzymes (SIRT1-7) which are used during DNA repair.
In mice, this resulted in an increased lifespan of 20%.
Clinical testing in humans has not yet started, but it is expected that an NMN drug will be available to us all by 2020.
The researchers are so confident in the effects of the drug, though, that they are taking it themselves.