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NIH to Fund Age-related Signaling Network Studies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health will fund two-year grants to researchers aiming to identify novel targets within the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling network, which potentially could be used to promote healthy aging and extend health into old age.

Funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute, these grants may give up to $275,000 over a two-year period with total funding for one year of up to $200,000.

While the mTOR signaling network has been studied extensively in many cancers, the role it plays in aging is not well understood, according to NIH.

Investigators seeking to identify and characterize targets in the mTOR may use a wide range of approaches, including medicinal chemistry, in vitro assays, and studies in lower organisms or mammalian models.

This research could include gene expression studies in normal cells and tissues to identify genes affected by rapamycin treatment that could lead to identification of new targets for use in healthy aging and targets for use in cancer studies; screening of mTORC1 inhibitors in invertebrate model organisms to identify those with potential to extend lifespan and health span; screening select molecules known to inhibit the mTORC1 pathway in mouse models for their potential to extend lifespan and/or health span; and cell culture assays to identify small molecules that inhibit key elements of the mTORC1 pathway and that reduce native and stress-induced cell senescence, increase resistance to stress, and/or increase proliferation.

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