Here’s What Happened To These Dogs When They Took Rapamycin

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Here's What Happened To These Dogs When They Took Rapamycin

Animals tend to have a shorter lifespan than humans, but some recent progress in immortality research may have opened up a solution. A drug taken by cancer patients can be able to extend a dog’s lifespan.

Dogs age much faster than humans, which is why their life in human years tends to last from 10 to 13 or 14 years at the most. Contrary to the popular belief that one human year is equal to seven dog years, the rate of aging in dogs also depends on their breed.

A drug called rapamycin can be used as an anti-aging drug for animals. It was found in soil collected from Easter Island 50 years ago and was sent to a lab in Canada for more research.

So far, it has shown to have great potential to fight aging. Reynolds Oklahoma Center for Aging professor Arlan Richardson says that it is the best bet that they have in making progress in immortality research.

Over the course of a decade, scientists have been conducting tests for immortality research progress and discovered that the mice that were given the drug were able to live up to 60 percent longer. Now, scientists are trying to test if this works on dogs and humans as well, and so far it has worked for dogs.

Momo & Sherman

Momo and Sherman are two dogs that have been given with the drug. Sherman suffered a stroke in 2015, and owners Paola Anderson and Sarah Godfrey sought medical help.

The doctors told them that Sherman may only have two weeks to live, and despite surgery being an option, there is only a 20 percent chance that he will make it.

The couple resorted to their herbalist for help and their herbalist said that rapamycin may be an option. Six veterinarians later, along with some consultation with Kaeberlein from the Aging Dog Project, they were able to get Sherman the medicine he needed, with the appropriate dosage.

According to Anderson, Sherman started eating on his own on the third day of taking rapamycin. A week later and he was already walking on his own.

A year and four months pass by, Sherman is still alive and healthy, and this got the couple thinking of whether Momo should take them too. Momo was healthy, he was just getting old, and after days of taking the drug, he had become more active.


While the effects proved to be quite beneficial to the dogs, there seems to be a catch. Knowing that rapamycin is a drug taken by cancer patients and organ transplant beneficiaries, the complications that can come with taking the drug are serious. Cancer, diabetes, infections are such complications to this.

Kaeberlein stated that while these complications can be a bit worrying, he will continue his research on the drug to make progress in immortality research. He states that the side-effects shown by cancer patients and transplant beneficiaries might be because they were sick in the first place.

It could also be because they were taking other drugs along with it. Kaeberlein also stated that he gave a lower dose of the drug on dogs.

Richardson agrees with Kaeberlein’s statement and even explained that they have been doing some blood chemistry and nothing bad has happened so far. As for humans, there have not been many tests, but Novartis, the company responsible for making the drug, tested it out on 218 elderly volunteers.

Their reaction to the flu vaccine improved by 20 percent.

Not to Be Taken Lightly

Rapamycin has come a long way in terms of making progress in immortality research. Although Momo and Sherman may have experienced an improved quality of life after taking rapamycin, Kaeberlein does not want dog owners to just go to their local veterinarians and ask for prescriptions.

Kaeberlein states that Momo and Sherman’s case is not scientific evidence in any way. It may be because Anderson and Godfrey are subconsciously seeing what they want to see.

Kaeberlein also states that he prefers to think of this as a treatment to slow down the onset of diseases that are caused by aging.

Photo Source: A_Peach at Flickr

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