On Oct. 22, the University of Connecticut Center on Aging, in collaboration with the Harvard Medical School Marcus Institute for Aging Research, launched a federally funded study into the immune system benefits of the drug RTB101 and how it can be used to help older people fight COVID-19, according to UConn Today.
Clinical trials of the drug RTB101 in thousands of people age 65 or older have shown to improve their bodies’ immune system responses to viral respiratory infections including COVID-19, but have also proven to be an inhibitor of the gene coding protein mTOR, which helps drive the process of cellular growth.
In 2009, researchers at the Jackson Lab, a biomedical research institution located at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, found that inhibiting the mTOR protein extended the lifespan of mice. Drugs like RTB101, which inhibit the mTOR protein, have potential to help older people, who are more severely impacted by COVID-19, respond to the virus.
According to the Director of the UConn Health Center on Aging, Dr. George Kuchel, the study aligns well with the overall mission of the research center — to “improve the health and independence of older adults through research, education and clinical care.”
the study aligns well with the overall mission of the research center — to “improve the health and independence of older adults through research, education and clinical care.”
“The current challenges confronting all of us demand that everything is done to help improve the ability of our older population to confront COVID-19. Interventions designed to boost immune responses by targeting biological aging represent a powerful and highly innovative new approach for dealing with this and any potential future pandemics,” Dr. Kuchel said.
Individuals who are at least 65 years old and have recently tested positive for COVID-19, but have not shown any symptoms, or those who have been exposed at home to someone with COVID-19, may qualify to participate in the study. Participants will be monitored while taking treatment once a day for two weeks, and for one additional week after.
According to UConn Today, those who are interested and may be eligible to participate in the study should contact the study coordinator, Lisa Kenyon-Pesce, at firstname.lastname@example.org.