Rapamycin Intervention Trial in Pet Dogs 

A small number of interventions have been shown to reproducibly and robustly extend lifespan in mice.  Among these, the best candidate for working similarly in dogs and people is a drug called rapamycin.

In order to meet our goal of increasing healthy longevity in pet dogs, the Dog Aging Project is performing an intervention trial to treat middle-aged dogs with the FDA approved drug rapamycin.  At high doses, rapamycin is used successfully in human patients to prevent organ transplant rejection and to fight cancer.  At low doses, rapamycin slows aging and extends lifespan in several organisms, including mice, with few or no side effects.

The first phase of this study is complete (see summary) and we are currently in the process of planning Phase 2. This next phase of the study will enroll a second cohort of middle-aged dogs into a longer-term, low-dose rapamycin regimen designed to maximize lifespan and healthspan extension.   Several age-related parameters will be assessed before, during, and after the treatment period, including cognitive function, heart function, immunity, and cancer incidence.  We intend for the second phase to include dogs from around the United States, and, if possible, the rest of the world.  Click here if you would like to register your dog to be considered for the long term rapamycin study.

Our primary concern is improving animal health and well being.  The dogs will be closely monitored by veterinary professionals during all phases of these studies.  While it is true that high doses of rapamycin can have negative side effects such as immune suppression and delayed wound healing, these are greatly mitigated if not completely absent at the doses used to extend longevity, and both animal and human studies indicate that even mild adverse events are rare.