Aging :: Sirtris & Harvard discover new mechanism to slow aging

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRT), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat diseases of aging, announced publication of a study by Sirtris and Harvard University scientists in the journal Cell that reveals a new mechanism to slow aging.

This study shows for the first time that activation of SIRT3 and SIRT4, members of the sirtuin family of enzymes, protects against cell damage. These important new findings further validate sirtuins as important targets for treating diseases of aging.

Sirtuins are a recently-discovered family of enzymes that promote the body’s natural defense against disease. There are seven human sirtuins (SIRT1-7). Sirtuins are attractive drug targets because some have a specialized function in mitochondrial activity which may be therapeutically beneficial for metabolic and other diseases of aging. Sirtuin therapeutics offer the potential for a novel class of drugs that can treat diseases of aging in a new way. In 2006, Sirtris scientists published breakthrough data in the journals Nature and Cell, which demonstrated that SIRT1 activators appear to mimic calorie restriction and extend lifespan.

Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals added, “These exciting new data further validate sirtuins as attractive targets for drug development to treat diseases of aging. This study identifies SIRT3 and SIRT4 as additional targets, expanding beyond previous work which focused on targeting SIRT1. These findings broaden the potential of Sirtris’ drug discovery platform and intellectual property focused on sirtuin modulators to treat a number of diseases of aging such as metabolic, mitochondrial, inflammatory and neurological disorders, and cancer.”

Dr. Westphal added, “We are currently in Phase 1b and Phase 2a clinical trials with our first sirtuin modulator, SRT501, a proprietary formulation of resveratrol, which activates the SIRT1 enzyme. SRT501 represents our first clinical-stage drug candidate. We are also developing a robust portfolio of novel SIRT1 activator drug candidates that are proprietary compounds significantly more potent than, and structurally unrelated to, resveratrol.”

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