Watch CBSN Live

Wyeth Discovers Anti-Aging Pill by Accident -- It's Rapamune, an Organ Transplant Drug

Wyeth told the WSJ that it did not know about a study published Wednesday in Nature that claims the age of mice was increased 9 - 14 percent if they took Rapamune, a drug Wyeth markets to suppress the immune system so that organ transplants won't be rejected. A second study in Science was on monkeys.

When told it owned a potential fountain of youth by the WSJ:

A Wyeth spokesman called it an "interesting preclinical study" and said Wyeth just became aware of the finding Wednesday.
The idea that aging is a disease that can be treated is gaining ground among fringe believers. Some look at lifelong calorie restriction as a treatment. Others simply believe that technology can fix everything. An example:
"It's time to break out of our denial about aging," said Aubrey de Grey, a British gerontologist who has drawn controversy for his suggestions on how to forestall death. "Aging is, unequivocally, the major cause of death in the industrialized world and a perfectly legitimate target of medical intervention."
Yes, aging is the "cause" of death, although to be strictly accurate I'd say that "death" was the real cause of death -- humans can withstand aging for decades; but death has a 100 percent fatality rate.

Already, there will be some execs within Wyeth pondering a new indication application to the FDA. Some will be speculating about off-label promotions -- after all, Pfizer made hundreds of millions of dollars selling its human growth hormone brand, Genotropin, to anti-aging quacks (before it was caught and punished by the feds).

One major advantage of selling an anti-aging pill: If the patient dies they will be less likely to sue.