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Easter Island

Less TOR Protein Extends Mouse Lifespan

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Mouse walking towards a fountainThe average life expectancy in the United States currently is about 79 [1]. And, unsurprisingly, more than two-thirds of Americans say they’d like to live another 10 to 20 years longer [2].

One possible route to a longer life is to cut calories drastically. Not much fun perhaps, but there’s evidence it works in yeast, worms, and mice—but probably not in monkeys [3]. The potential life-extending strategy that I’d like to tell you about today focuses on the drug rapamycin, which blocks the activity of a protein called “target of rapamycin,” or TOR. Recently, a team here at NIH discovered that—at least in mice—reducing production of this protein through genetic engineering can add about 20% to the lifespan [4].