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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

St. Pete Finds Fountain of Youth?

ST. PETERSBURG — It works on mice. It seems to be working on Gazprom employees. And scientists in the northern capital believe that they have come up with a formula for a longer, healthier life that can work for anyone.

Researchers at the city’s Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology — the only institute of this kind in the country — say that they can extend a human being’s life expectancy up to as much as 110 years, thanks to a series of bioregulators that slow the aging process and help keep certain diseases at bay.

The advantages of the longevity medicines they have come up with — which involve extracting chemicals from the organs of a calf — include expanding the human reproduction cycle, and adding years to people’s working capabilities, as well as preventing early aging and its attendant illnesses.

"We are not trying to fight the laws of nature," said Vladimir Cherkashin, head doctor at the institute. "[Our work] has nothing to do with turning old men into infants. Our methods are more realistic: We are trying to slow the aging process down."

The search for the fountain of youth has preoccupied mankind for centuries. But gerontology as a more mainstream branch of medicine began to take off in the 19th century, as scientists experimented with varying diets, climates and people’s ways of life in an effort to find the magic formula that would prolong human existence.

But Vladimir Khavinson and his team at the Gerontology Institute — affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences — cracked the problem after 25 years of experiments on mice proving the curative effects of bioregulators. They presented their work to date to gerontologists from around the world at a congress on the subject held in St. Petersburg at the end of August.

"The numerous experiments on mice that my colleagues and I carried out proved that, after taking such bioregulators, the animals’ life expectancy increased by around 30 to 40 percent," Khavinson said.

"Furthermore, the mice were able to reproduce at an age which, if translated into human terms, would be 60 or 70 years old."

The treatment on offer, Khavinson said, is aimed at rehabilitating the aging tissues and organs of people around 40 years old.

He said that aging disorders result when the body’s hormonal system changes, and when human tissue begins to suffer from a lack of the necessary proteins. The main problems include diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and arterial and heart defects. Diabetes is also a concern.

By administering the new bioregulators, however, the scientists say they add natural protein to the body’s organs when the hormone system can’t supply them anymore. They offer 17 different kinds of prophylactic bioregulators, known as cytamines, plus an additional six kinds of drugs, called cytamedines, that have a stronger effect for those already suffering from an illness caused by aging.

Sound unlikely? Khavinson is 53 years old, and looks 10 years younger. "I’ve been taking cytamines for eight years," he said.

Energy giant Gazprom has gotten so interested in the findings that it has actually started offering the bioregulators to its employees.

Sergei Okhotnikov, head of Gazprom’s health department, said last week that most of the company’s 200,000 employees work in inhospitable climates such as the Far North and Siberia.

"Our employees are exposed to harmful factors such as low temperatures, unusual daylight regimes, anomalies of climate and geography — factors that lead to premature aging and related illnesses," Okhotnikov said.

Gazprom workers began testing bioregulators in 1995-96, he added, and they have already obtained good results. "Their health improved, and the sick lists got shorter," he said.

Okhotnikov said that Gazprom had been extending the bioregulators program to more staff this year.