The drug rapamycin comes from bacteria found in the soils of Easter Island. It's helped save lives for over a decade by preventing rejection in organ transplants, but that might just be scratching the surface of what it can do.
Rapamycin takes its name from Rapa Nui, the island's name in the native Eastern Polynesian language. The drug was originally intended to be an antifungal medication, but the discovery of its immunosuppressive properties in the late nineties pushed the research in a new direction. Now, over a decade later, we're closing in on another set of amazing new properties for the drug, and it's all to do with reversing the brain's cognitive decline, including potentially stopping Alzheimer's.
It was over two years ago that we first read about this new line of research, and now studies in mice are beginning to bear some seriously intriguing fruit. In a statement, Veronica Galvin of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas explains their latest rodent findings: