Exploring the Potential of Sirolimus in Delaying Aging and Age-Related Diseases

To keep up with the world’s rapidly aging population, the NAM launched the Healthy Longevity Global Competition, a multi-stage global competition designed to seek out bold, innovative, and breakthrough ideas that challenge the way we think about aging. The Catalyst Award, the first stage of the competition, rewards exciting opportunities that display prospective improvement in the mental, physical, and social well-being of individuals as they age. Irina Timofte is one of NAM’s 45 U.S.-based Catalyst Awardees. We hear from Irina, an Associate Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern, who speaks about their award-winning project The Role of Sirolimus in Delaying Aging and Age-Related Diseases.

Can you share a little bit about yourself and your team? How did you come to work together? What advantages does your interdisciplinary team bring?

I am dedicated to treating older adults and improving their survival and quality of life. My translational research focuses on developing strategies to prevent the development of age-related chronic diseases, improve physical and social performance and autonomy of older patients. The proposed project takes advantage of a very strong investigative team that combines their expertise to successfully carry out the goals of the study: Michael L. Terrin, MD, CM, MPH, is an epidemiologist with expertise in clinical trial design and implementation; Craig Rubin, MD and Sarah Wingfield, MD are both established clinical investigator in geriatrics. With the support of our team and capitalizing on The Healthy Longevity Catalyst Award, I am planning to embark on a research career that will make a significant impact in the health and independence of older Americans.

Please tell us about your innovative idea/project. Why it is particularly innovative, bold, and/or novel?

The proposed study is highly innovative and has the potential to identify new and critical Interventions directed to decrease susceptibility to chronic disease, frailty, and disability older adults. Furthermore, by examining phenotypic/functional biomarkers of aging, we will assess the role of a medication fundamentally linked to proliferation, differentiation, and survival in reducing age-related diseases and extending healthy life span.

What inspired you to develop your project?

I discovered my passion for taking care of older adults early in my career. I have a special interest in understanding the mechanistic pathway of aging, discovering new therapeutic interventions to decrease aging-related degenerative processes, improve human health, and improve survival

How might your innovative idea/project lead to a future breakthrough in the field of healthy longevity?
The proposed interventional study is intended to identify new and critical medications for therapeutic intervention in the aging population, leading to the prevention of chronic diseases such as skin cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. This intervention has the potential to prevent age-associated diseases, reduce hospitalizations and improve survival.

How do you see your project advancing in the future?

We intend to use the data obtained from this pilot study to develop a randomized interventional trial evaluating the role of Sirolimus in delaying aging processes and potentially identifying a new therapeutic intervention to decrease aging-related degenerative processes and prolong a healthy lifespan.

What motivated you to apply to the Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards? What advice would you have to other prospective applicants?

The Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards gave us an amazing opportunity to identify a new and critical medication for therapeutic intervention in the aging population. I would strongly advise potential future candidates to consider this fantastic high-impact grant opportunity for researchers at any stage of their professional career.

Has this award changed your perspective on what healthy longevity looks like?

The Healthy Longevity Catalyst Award has definitely changed our perspective on health longevity, allowing us to research one of the leading regulators of human metabolism, proliferation, and differentiation pathway.

Irina Timofte, MD, MS is Transplant Pulmonologist at UT Southwestern Medical

To learn more about the NAM’s Catalyst Awardees, check out these stories. For more information about the global Healthy Longevity Global Competition, click here. We appreciate your support in advancing innovative solutions to promote health throughout the human lifespan. Email healthylongevity@nas.edu for questions about the award.

Sign up for updates