line drawing of scientist looking into a microscope

What Are Rapalogs?

Rapalogs are drugs that work similarly to rapamycin, the most reliably life-extending drug.  Rapamycin was discovered in 1972 in a bacterium called Streptomyces hygroscopicus on the island of Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island).  It was initially developed as an antifungal, but later it was found that it inhibits the mTOR pathway, which regulates cell growth, cell proliferation, and cell survival. Recently, other drugs have been found which also inhibit mTOR.

Rapamycin is an immunosuppressant used to prevent organ transplant rejection; it has serious side effects in humans, including infections and low platelet counts, so it’s unlikely to be usable as an anti-aging preventative, though there are some studies suggesting that low-dose rapamycin may be safe.  

A few rapalogs have been found to have anti-aging effects in animals, but none have been shown to increase mouse lifespan so far.

LEARN MORE: The Lifespan Research Institute