Humans may live to 120 in just 60 years time, according to a leading expert.
Research reveals it is possible to slow down our biological, or ‘inner’, ageing process, which could help us to live decades beyond the current life expectancy of 81.
Drugs that interact with our DNA maintain the function of our bodies for longer, the research suggests.
Experts stress, however, this must be combined with a healthy lifestyle for full effect.
Yet, how a 120-year-old life expectancy may impact our quality of life is unclear.
The side effects of such treatments are also unknown.
Several European countries are in talks to start drug trials within the next three years.
Professor Vladimir Khavinson, head of the St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology, said: ‘It is important to understand that nobody would want to live a long and unhealthy life. The main goal for us now must be to allow people to stay healthy for as long as possible into their old age.’
Six of these drugs are already available in Russia.
These include Thymalin to maintain immune system function and Cortexin to preserve brain activity.
The drugs work on the so-called ‘peptide technology theory’ that interacting with DNA increases protein production that prolongs lifespan.
Speaking at the international symposium on longevity in Geneva, Professor Vladimir Khavinson said: ‘One of the key indicators of ageing is the reduction of protein synthesis.
‘We have come to the conclusion that it is possible to restore it to a normal level with the use of peptide bioregulators and have found an optimal way to maintain natural peptide production of a sufficient quantity.
‘The technology developed by our scientific institute is based on the extraction of peptides from the tissues of young healthy animals that have the same structure as human tissues.’
A similar study conducted by researchers at the GLMED medical center in Moscow assessed 60 age markers throughout drug treatment in participants aged 31 to 72 years old.
Results revealed that when combined with a healthy lifestyle, the drugs reduce a person’s biological age by an average of up to two years over 12 months.
Experts stress, however, the drugs should be combined with a healthy lifestyle that focuses on a Mediterranean diet, physical activity and avoiding stress.
Mario Barbagallo, chair of the clinical section of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, said: ‘The Mediterranean diet is considered to be the perfect dietary pattern all over the world.
‘According to the research, people who keep to it live longer and suffer less from cardiovascular disorders, obesity, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.’
Professor Khavinson added: ‘If they lead a healthy life, they will have a good start.
‘Clean environment, fresh food, physical activity and medical advances (particularly advances in peptide technologies) can allow people who are young today to live until 120.
‘However, it is important to understand that nobody would want to live a long and unhealthy life. The main goal for us now must be to allow people to stay healthy for as long as possible into their old age.’