18.07.15: SCIENCE HAS found a way to turn back the clock with a drug that significantly delays the ageing process.
Elixir works by targeting what are known as "advanced glycolisation end-products", or Age.
Glycolisation has been described by scientists as a slow-motion form of cooking. It is the process that makes the skin lose its elasticity, arteries harden and the lens of the eye form cataracts in short, all the horrible slowing down and stiffening up that comes with ageing.
"One of the reasons we all begin to freeze up as we get older is what's called 'cross-linking'," says Professor Patrick Wall of the American biotech firm Alteon, which has been researching and developing Elixir for nearly 20 years.
"Proteins begin to bind almost randomly with other proteins. Sugars are involved hence the 'glyco' bit which is why diabetics, who have trouble with sugar, are especially vulnerable to these debilitating clogging-up processes."
Elixir is able to break down these links, restoring youthful flexibility.
Just who is going to be eligible for the drug is not yet certain but it seems likely to be those at risk of serious disease.
For those not lucky enough to lay their hands on the new product, advice comes from 80-year-old Dr Michael Perrin of the Optimal Ageing Clinic in Harley St