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Drug designed to extend the lives of dogs is one step closer to approval

Drug designed to extend the lives of dogs is one step closer to approval

Good news for our four-legged friends.

A biotech firm in the US has gotten us one step closer to a drug which might be able to help dogs live longer.

As you can probably imagine, getting any kind of drug approved is a lengthy process - but company Loyal is on its way to doing so.

The drug specifically targets larger breeds.
Brian Stubbs / 500px / Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine has approved the 'Reasonable Expectation of Effectiveness section' of Loyal's conditional application for the drug.

What this means is that the FDA accepts that Loyal's drug has a "reasonable expectation of effectiveness" - now the company will continue to collect more data for full approval.

The drug is rather cutely dubbed LOY-OO1, and is intended to help large and giant breed dogs live longer.

According to Loyal's founder and CEO, Celine Halioua, the drug is "targeting the abnormally short lifespan of large breed dogs".

She said the company is hoping that LOY-001 will be "the first drug explicitly approved and labeled for healthy lifespan extension".

There's a reason the drug is targeted specifically at bigger dogs, with Loyal saying they "tend to live shorter lives than smaller dogs — often by half" - meaning bigger breeds like Great Danes have an average lifespan of seven to 10 years, while it's 13-16 years for smaller breeds like chihuahuas.

Big dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan than small breeds.
Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

This is all down to selective breeding over the years, meaning large dogs have higher levels of the hormone IGF-1 - which is thought to accelerate aging. LOY-001 is simple - it partly works, the company says, by "reducing IGF-1 to levels seen in smaller-breed dogs".

The drug aims not only to help bigger dogs live longer - but it also hopes to improve their quality of life.

"Each milestone we’ve achieved in this methodical, evidence-based process has demonstrated steady progress toward our vision of helping dogs live longer and stay healthy as they age," Halioua said.

Of course, who knows how long it might actually take for the efficacy of this drug to be fully proved and for it to become available, but it's good to know scientists are working hard on it - especially if you own a St. Bernard, Chow Chow or Doberman.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Jason Waltman / TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images