Rapamycin is also known by its more medical-leaning nomenclature Sirolimus. Mikhail Blagosklonny is a respected professor of Oncology at the Rosewell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and he surmised that the drug could have far more wide-spreading use cases than just the current role as an organ transplant rejection tool or cancer-fighting medicine. So, his research and his role as editor at Oncotarget is allowing him to publish his evidence that gives a whole new range of possibility to the pharmaceutical.
The immunosuppressant properties of Rapamycin are already well recorded. For example, in humans, the body has a natural tendency to reject any new organs that are put in as a replacement for some failing counterpart. The additional benefit that separates Sirolimus from the alternatives that have already been used for years is its ability to not have a negative impact on the kidneys in the long run. Calcineurin inhibitors or immunosuppressive drugs can wear away at a patient’s kidneys in such an adverse manner that the results can be quite detrimental to the organ transplant recipient, but not so with this lesser known drug.
However, Mikhail Blagosklonny has a bigger vision that includes allowing humans to have a greater lifespan by leveraging some of the latest drugs that have anti-aging properties, and this includes Rapamycin. It was back in 2003 that the scientific studies began to show that the drug has beneficial effects on longevity in such things as worms, flies and then mice. The main hurdle that has to be overcome is the increased risk of infection because of the drug’s immunosuppression properties, but there are many different techniques being explored that are probably going to make it a viable solution over time.
Mr. Blagosklonny is a philanthropist at heart as well, and so he is not likely to give up on his goal to make people live longer. It is a passion for people that led him to his current oncology role, and it takes that type of mindset to push beyond limits that would cause others to turn back. He wants to understand why cancer is more common in people who are over a certain age, and the correlation between aging and cancer in general. Some of the techniques that are currently used to treat certain forms of cancer can have painful repercussions and be expensive as well. He continues to publish insight into new methods that might be used.
The overall goal is to be able to precisely eliminate the cancerous cells without inadvertently affecting those normal non-cancerous ones that are in the same vicinity. The body and mind will always need these to be viable so that everything can be properly restored after treatment, and recovery is hard to come by in some cases nowadays. There still is much work to be done, and he continues to pursue these advances while also preparing the way for the next generation of researchers who will need to start from where he will eventually leave things.