San Antonio researchers will experiment with older baboons to see if new drugs can help ease the challenges that come with getting older. Scientists at Texas Biomedical Research Institute hope the medicines will reverse cognitive decline and memory problems in older people.
Texas Biomed professor Marcel Daadi specializes in regenerative medicine and aging, and he said this research targets the ways aging slows a person down, whether due to brain function and memory or to motor skills. He said baboons are perfect for this study because they're smart and they learn quickly.
"You can challenge them, you can make the tests complex, they can make choices, and they also age in a way that is quite similar to humans," Daadi said.
Daadi added this is the kind of work he loves to do, because it can potentially improve quality of life, overall, for older people.
"If we can improve life as we age, we'll be able to age in a healthy way until the end, I think that's something that's very, very exciting for us," he said.
The class of medicine being tested is already FDA approved, so they know it's safe. FDA approval will also shorten the amount of time it would take to get the medicine to patients if the study finds it is effective.
The William and Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation give Texas Biomed a more than $100,000 to do this study.
Bonnie Petrie can be reached at Bonnie@TPR.org and on Twitter at @kbonniepetrie.