Easter Island is one of the most mysterious locations on Earth.
The mysterious statues, the Moa, with their long staring eyes looking into the distance as if warding off invaders, or beseeching distant travelers to come closer, are still the center of archaeological debate. Now Easter Island’s a center of wonder again, because scientists have unearthed a new compound that may cure one age related illness, and could one day stop the human aging process altogether.
Scientists found the soil contains a compound used to make the drug Rapamycin, first tested on cells from children who suffered from the disease, Progeria. Sufferers of this disease often age incredibly rapidly and their bodies deteriorate quickly. But it appears scientists may have found an answer to the illness in the soil of Easter Island, and they’re beginning to explore the idea that there may actually be benefits to entire populations.
The cellular deterioration that comes along with cell division and growth has been linked to a select few proteins. These proteins are what cause the look of old age. Scientists are now studying the properties of Rapamycin and its relationship to the aging process in general. If it works to keep sufferers of Progeria from aging, they believe it will work for those of us aging normally.