Drosophilia- Wikipedia image

Mifepristone Increases Lifespan in Flies and Worms…Can It Improve Longevity in Humans?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John Gerard Tower Professor of biological sciences University of Southern California

Prof.l Tower

John Gerard Tower
Professor of biological sciences
University of Southern California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Mifepristone is a synthetic steroid drug that is used in humans for birth control and as a treatment for Cushing’s disease, and is currently in clinical trials as an anti-cancer treatment.

We have previously shown that mifepristone dramatically increases the life span of mated female Drosophila flies.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Drosophilia- Wikipedia image

Drosophilia- Wikipedia image

In the present study, we find that mifepristone increases fly life span by altering genes and metabolic pathways that are shared with humans, including interactions with the microbiome.

In addition, we find that mifepristone increases the life span of mated C. elegans worms. 

C. elegans worm - Wikipedia image

C. elegans worm – Wikipedia image

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: It is striking how conserved the regulation of life span appears to be across species. The metabolism associated with a long, healthy life in humans is similar to the metabolism associated with a long, healthy life in flies, and this is promoted by mifepristone. The finding that mifepristone can increase life span in species as different as fly and worm suggests the possibility that mifepristone might also be able to increase life span in humans. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: It will be important to identify the exact molecular target of mifepristone in the fly, as this remains unknown, and identifying this target may be useful for designing further anti-aging interventions. It may also be of interest to design human clinical trials to test for possible life span effects of mifepristone.

Nothing to disclose. 


John Tower, Sean P Curran, Daniel E L Promislow, Jie Shen, Mina Abdelmesieh, Shinwoo Lee, Palak Patel, Jimmy Wu, Tianyi Wang, Jonah Vroegop, Ina Wang, Yang Fan, Lu Wang, Chia-An Yen, Devon V Doherty, Gary N Landis. Metabolic Signatures of Life Span Regulated by Mating, Sex Peptide and Mifepristone/RU486 in Female Drosophila melanogaster. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glaa164 



The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.


Last Updated on July 11, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD