Trial One Study Summarized
The first phase of the Dog Aging Project rapamycin intervention trial has been completed. This trial successfully enrolled 40 dogs in the Seattle area into the study, of which 24 dogs completed the study. Several dogs were unfortunately excluded after the first visit (prior to receiving either placebo or rapamycin) due to pre-existing health conditions, generally asymptomatic heart valve disease that was detected by the echocardiogram. Although we did not expect this, it may provide important information to the veterinary community about the incidence of heart disease among the older population of companion dogs.
As of August, 2016, we are finishing the analysis of the data for the dogs that completed the phase 1 study and hope to submit the results for publication within the next few months. The key findings are that there were no significant side effects associated with the rapamycin treatment, and there were statistically significant improvements in heart function in the dogs that received rapamycin relative to those that received the placebo, similar to what has been observed in older laboratory mice.
It is important to keep in mind that this is a small study that requires replication before we can be confident in these results. It is also important to recognize that we don’t have any evidence that the improvements in heart function indicate overall improvements in health or slower aging in these dogs or even what the long-term effects of rapamycin will be. We view these initial results as highly encouraging, however, and feel that this phase 1 study provides a strong justification for the next phase of the intervention trial which will follow dogs for three to five years.