Scientists are studying a decades-old drug to see if it is capable of reversing aging.

Researchers from the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) are seeking participants and funding for a new study to prove that the drug metformin, an antidiabetic agent, is a viable option for reversing aging.

AFAR’s new study, the Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) Trial, would be a nationwide series of six-year clinical trials conducted on over 3,000 participants aged 65 to 79. According to the organization’s website, these trials will take place at 14 research institutions nationwide and will be coordinated by Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.

The Food and Drug Administration originally approved metformin for use in various medicines in 1994. According to the FDA, the drug improves the body’s response to its own naturally created insulin.

The TAME Trial would attempt to discover if subjects taking metformin demonstrate a delayed progression of certain age-related illnesses including cancer, dementia, and heart disease, noting previous studies that suggested it can delay aging in animals. Metformin is the focus of the study due to its “safety and low cost.”

If proof of viability is discovered, researchers believe the treatment could extend one’s years while saving “trillions of dollars.”

“We hope the FDA will approve aging as an indication, to signify that aging can be “treated.” In medical terms, an “indication” for a drug refers to the use of that drug for treating a particular condition,” reads AFAR’s website. “If aging is made an indication, the TAME Trial will mark a paradigm shift: from treating each age-related medical condition separately to treating these conditions together by targeting aging per se.”

“I don’t know if metformin increases lifespan in people, but the evidence that exists suggests that it very well might,” said Steven Austad, a senior scientific advisor at AFAR, according to NPR.

Michael and Shari Cantor, a couple in their mid-60s who take metformin, claim that the drug has improved their lives and that it has not yielded any adverse side effects.

“I walk a lot, I hike, and at 65 I have a lot of energy,” said Michael Cantor, per NPR. “I feel like the metformin helps.”

However, there is a noted obstacle that revolves around money. Dr. Nir Barzilai of Albert Einstein College of Medicine expressed frustration with potentially having an affordable drug that could help everyone but not being able to fund the trial because pharma companies are not taking an interest.

“The main obstacle with funding this study is that metformin is a generic drug, so no pharmaceutical company is standing to make money,” said Barzilai, per NPR.

Fundraising efforts for the trial are ongoing, with individuals like Barzilai looking to philanthropists and foundations for assistance.

“If the TAME Trial is successful, and aging is made an indication for treatment, a new era of treatments will be available,” the AFAR website states. “More years of health and vitality for us all.”

Scientists have long been researching and testing methods to stop or reverse the clock for individuals. In July 2023, researchers from Harvard Medical School claimed to have discovered a six-drug cocktail that could accomplish such a purpose, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.