An anti-ageing pill may be just around the corner, thanks to an exciting scientific breakthrough.
Dr Zaki Hassan-Smith claims the pill could be available to the general public within the next five years.
The claim comes after his researchers identified an enzyme that weakens muscles, and it is hoped that by battling it we could see the end to elderly people suffering from frailty.
Known as sarcopenia, the condition is a prime cause of disease.
Dr Hassan-Smith, of the University of Birmingham, said: “At the moment we are looking for funding for a clinical trial to see if a compound that targets the enzyme would work on sarcopenia.
“There are drugs already being developed to inhibit it for metabolic syndrome and diabetes, so it is not as if we have to produce an entirely new medication. There are already phase 2 studies going on for other diseases.
“We are just exploiting something that is already out there. So if our findings are backed up by future research we are looking at a timescale of about five years.”
It is hoped that in the future muscle boosting drugs could aid those unable to maintain strength through exercise such as weight training.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, is a significant step in understanding the role played by the enzyme ’11&£946;-HSD1′ in the degenerative effects of ageing.
It showed expression of 11&£946;-HSD1 in skeletal muscles rose 2.72 times in women aged over 60, compared to 20 to 40 year olds.
Dr Hassan-Smith said although not much difference was seen in male participants, there were smaller rises in the enzyme for things like weakeed grip strength.
He added: “It is mere speculation at the moment, but an 11&£946;-HSD1 inhibitor could have an anti ageing effect for men as well, we have not ruled that out yet.”