Drug That Could Extend Lifespan of Senior Dogs Enters Clinical Trial

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Holly Michele/Shutterstock

A new and revolutionary drug that could possibly extend the lifespan of healthy, senior dogs, is now entering a major clinical trial. It also has a first patient - an 11-year-old Whippet named Boo. Going by the codename LOY-002, this drug is designed to provide a few more years to senior dogs of most sizes. It is the product of a startup biotech company called  Loyal and is the fruit of their hard work and arduous research. 

Celine Halioua, the founder and CEO of Loyal, said that the company is working hard to develop several products aimed at the longevity of dogs. One of their initial projects, the LOY-001, was a drug aimed to extend the lifespan of giant and large dog breeds. In November of 2023, this project received the support of the FDA, paving the way for the company's further successes. 

The underlying mechanisms of aging were the first focus of the company as it developed LOY-001. The drug works by reducing IGF-1, an insulin-like growth factor that is a key biomarker hormone that drives cell growth. It is believed that this reduced the lifespan of extra-large dogs. Similarly, the LOY-002 project aims to extend the lifespan of normal-sized dogs, by improving their metabolic health and thus delaying the onset and the impact of diseases that come with old age. 

“LOY-002 is a slightly different mechanism [than LOY-001] for senior lifespan extension. It’s a little bit more of a reversal mechanism. It’s not going to make a 10-year-old dog a puppy, but we’ve seen a rescuing in age-related functional decline in dogs that have been treated with this drug,” said Halioua in an interview with  dvm360.

The newest study for LOY-002 is expected to last 4 years, and include one thousand enrolled dogs. “It will be one of the largest veterinary clinical studies that, as far as we know, has ever been run,” added Halioua.

The first ever receiver of the drug, Boo, was enrolled into the program in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County. There, an associate veterinary and STAY study investigator, Coby Rudakewiz, became a part of the program for the first time, witnessing its incredible potential. “I’m genuinely excited to be able to share what we’ve seen as a life-changing product to dogs of all sizes,” he said.“This is what it’s all about - keeping dogs feeling their best to enjoy a long life with their owners who love them.”

“The launch of this study brings us one step closer to helping senior dogs have more, healthier years with their families…The scale and complexity of STAY reflect Loyal’s commitment to creating demonstrably effective and safe products,” Halioua added. “This is a massive undertaking that wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of the many veterinarians and technicians operating the study in their clinics, and the participating dogs and owners helping advance therapies for all dogs.”

For the time being, the company is working hard to receive conditional approval for its revolutionary drug. This would allow them to begin offering it through veterinarians as soon as 2025. This could mean a world of difference for many senior doggos and their families. Seeing your senior doggo enjoy a few extra years without the issues common to old age is nothing short of true happiness, and would mean that the company’s hard efforts were not in vain. 

Ultimately, this innovative drug gives us hope for the future and makes us wonder what other ground-breaking drugs could we see in the years ahead.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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