Carlos López Otín and his team observed that their progeroid mice had low levels of the hormone called IGF1.
They used recombinant IGF protein produced in the laboratory to treat the mice and the results were positive in terms of extension of longevity and improvement of progeria symptoms.
The improvement was clear and significant, but lower than that observed with the combination of statins and bisphosphonates which they reported two years ago in Nature Medicine and which has been the basis of the current clinical trial, first conducted by Dr. Nicolas Lévy in Marseille and adopted by the American Progeria Research Foundation in Boston.
The good thing is that additional - yet unpublished work - indicates that positive effects of IGF (albeit not so impressive) could be additive to the pharmacological treatment. Another good thing is that IGF1 has been widely used in children with Laron syndrome with no adverse effects.
Although this finding is interesting, researchers are very cautious regarding immediate translation of laboratory findings in animal models to patients. The option to add IGF to children treated with statins-bisphosphonates will be discussed, for the moment these children will have an adequate follow up of the current treatment that is offered in Marseille.