London, Aug 10 : A drug, which holds back the clock of ageing and halts the onset of diabetes, cancer and heart disease, may hit market shelves in another five years, researchers have claimed.
According to the scientists, the magical drug can be used to prevent Alzheimer's and can also reinvigorate patients giving them more stamina.
The drug is made up of chemicals that mimic resveratrol, a compound which is found in the skins of red grapes.
Earlier studies have shown that resveratrol cuts the impact of a high-fat diet, doubles stamina and extends lifespan in mice.
However, to get the same benefits, a human would have to drink around 1,000 bottles of wine.
Now, Sirtris, a pharmaceutical firm has developed a pill based on two chemicals that act in the same way.
In one study on mice, which was published last year, the drug was found to undo diabetes' symptoms.
The first clinical trials on humans are now under way, and the developers - Sirtris Pharmaceuticals - believe it could also help prevent diseases including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.
"The excitement here is that we're not talking about red wine any more. We're talking about real drugs. We will make a drug to treat one disease but it will, as an added bonus, protect you against most of the other diseases of the Western world. One of the drawbacks of resveratrol is that the doses need to be large," The Daily Mail quoted David Sinclair, co-founder of Sirtris, as saying.
"Now this paper says you can reduce it into a little pill taken once a day. The chances of success in humans is estimated at 80 to 90 per cent," he added.
David's researchers have tested around 500,000 molecules to find those that would have the same effect as resveratrol on genes known to control the ageing process.
The same results were seen in two studies, which were conducted on mice and one of rats.
Another study, which was conducted last month, showed that mice fed resveratrol had strong bones, healthier hearts, better balance and co-ordination, and fewer cataracts than those not given the compound. It also helped them live longer if they had a high-calorie diet.