And if your dog's life was lengthened by 5 years

US researchers are looking for volunteers to test a drug that could slow the aging process . Treatment not intended for humans, for the moment at least, but for dogs.

Volunteers will have to incorporate rapamycin into the food of their 4-legged companion for several months or years, and the researchers will University of Washington, Seattle, hope to offer them a few more years at their side

Rapamycin is an immunosuppressant often used during organ transplants to prevent rejection and treat autoimmune diseases -immunes. Tested on mice, this drug would have lengthened the life of rodents by 10% Never had a drug had such an effect on a mammal

Why dogs?

Rapamycin has Does it have the same impact on large species? This is what scientists intend to determine. Before testing the drug on humans, they want to try it on dogs. But why?

An experiment on animals with a shorter life expectancy will get results faster . "If we start now to give the drug to middle-aged dogs, we have a chance to discover in a few years only if it works on larger animals," says Guardian Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, one of the biologists participating in this study.

Moreover, dogs living in a environment very close to that of humans , researchers will be able to better understand the factors that affect the functioning of the rapamycin

Dr. Matt Kaeberlein and his colleagues do not focus only on the potential benefits to humans. They are leading a broader research on dog aging, the Dog Aging Project . This is also an essay on rapamycin. Scientists will follow the natural evolutions of dogs over the years.

"An extraordinary opportunity to improve the health of millions of dogs"

"We believe that increasing the lifespan of healthy dogs It's a worthy goal in itself - imagine what you could do with an extra two to five years with your beloved pet in the prime of life! " explain the researchers

It is in 2015 that this project should be launched. Scientists are looking for dozens of dogs aged 8 or 9 . There is however a risk. Rapamycin can cause side effects, including lung problems and diabetes-like symptoms.

Dr. Kaerberlein and his team hope that some dog owners will find this risk worthwhile. "With your support, we have a tremendous opportunity to improve the health of millions of dogs," say the researchers.