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The Dog Aging Project has kicked into high gear and is recruiting 10,000 of our furry friends in what will be the largest dog aging study in history. The researchers hope that the study will also reveal more about human aging and longevity.

The Dog Aging Project is seeking pets to enroll in the study

The National Institute on Aging is funding the $23 million project, which will see a vast amount of data being collected during the five years that the project will run for. The research team will be collecting data such as vet records, DNA samples, gut microbiome samples, and information on diet and exercise.

The study chose to use dogs as they share many things with us humans, including living in the same environment and similar biology, and they even develop many age-related diseases that we do. The dogs in the study will continue to live at home and enjoy their usual daily lives, and the study will include dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, including mutts.

To be part of the study, owners will have to complete periodic surveys, take their dogs to a vet once a year for examination, and possibly have to make extra visits for additional tests. A panel of animal welfare advisors will be involved in the study to ensure that the participants are treated well. The data from the study will be made available publicly, which is great news for open science and knowledge sharing.

To nominate your pet for the study, please visit the Dog Aging Project’s dog registration page and complete the survey there.

An anti-aging pill for pooch

Five hundred lucky pooches will also be given rapamycin, which appears to slow down aging according to various mouse studies; the hope is those results will translate to the dogs in this study.

Rapamycin is an immune system suppressant and is currently used in humans to prevent organ rejection during transplants. However, in smaller doses in mouse studies, it has been shown to increase lifespan. A pilot safety study in dogs found no serious side effects, according to Matt Kaeberlein of the University of Washington and one of the co-directors of the Dog Aging Project.

In general, larger dogs have shorter lifespans than their small counterparts, which makes large dogs an excellent choice for testing an age-slowing drug such as rapamycin, as any positive results will be obvious sooner. As a result, only dogs weighing at least 40 pounds will be enrolled in the rapamycin experiment.

Conclusion

We certainly have a lot more in common with dogs than we do mice, a favorite model animal in medical research, so anything that the study learns is good for dogs has good potential to translate to humans.

If you would like to learn a bit more about the project in addition to visiting the Dog Aging Project website, you may want to check out our interview with Matt Kaeberlein, which gives more background on the project and his research.

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About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 500 articles on the topic as well as attending various medical industry conferences. In 2019 he was listed in the top 100 journalists covering biomedicine and longevity research in the industry report – Top-100 Journalists covering advanced biomedicine and longevity created by the Aging Analytics Agency. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, and, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project. In 2015 he led the Major Mouse Testing Program (MMTP) for the International Longevity Alliance and in 2016 helped the team of the SENS Research Foundation to reach their goal for the OncoSENS campaign for cancer research.
  1. November 16, 2019

    This needs to be done for cats!

    Do we silly hoomans have a lot in common with cats, too?

  2. November 29, 2019

    Thanks , I’ve just been looking for info about this subject
    for a long time and yours is the best I’ve found out so far.
    However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain in regards to the supply?

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