Could Easter Island hold the key to anti-aging?

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Could Easter Island Hold The Key To Anti-Aging?

A promising anti-aging compound found around the statues of Easter Island continues to impress scientists, notes Metro.

Called rapamycin, it is a naturally occurring by-product of bacteria from this area.

According to an article published in Chemical and Engineering News, a soil sample containing the substance was first collected by a team of researchers in 1964.

Eventually, scientists discovered that rapamycin could fight fungus, act as an immunosuppressant and prevent cells from dividing.

Photos of Easter Island:

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The Seven Moais (Restored In 1960 By Archaeologist William Mulloy) Of Ahu Akivi Are The Only Moai To Face The Ocean, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile (Photo by: Insights/UIG via Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: A horse and the five Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statues) of Ahu Vai Ure, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - DECEMBER 16: Chile, Easter Island, Rapa-Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995). Rano Raraku crater, Moais (megalithic anthropomorphic statues) (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: The Seven Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statues), Ahu Akivi Archaeological Site, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Chile, Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Ahu Akivi Moais -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- are seen on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 13, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statue) of Ahu Tahai and the five Moai of Ahu Vai Ure, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: The five Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statues) of Ahu Vai Ure, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
View of a Moais -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 9, 2010. Hundreds of scientists, tourists and locals expect to see from the Easter Island the almost five-minute total eclipse that will take place on July 11, at the same time of the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 final. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Ahu Akivi Moais -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- are seen on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 13, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - moai (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moais at Ahu Tongariki (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Moai By The Quarry In The Crater Of Rano Raraku Volcano, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile (Photo by: Insights/UIG via Getty Images)
A group of tourists visit Moais (background) -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 9, 2010. Hundreds of scientists, tourists and locals expect to see from the Easter Island the almost five-minute total eclipse that will take place on July 11, at the same time of the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 final. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Moai By Ahu Tongariki, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile (Photo by: Insights/UIG via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moais (stone figurine) (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moai at Ahu Tongariki (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moais at Rano Raraku (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - FEBRUARY 07: Statues in a row, Moai Statues, Ahu Akivi, Easter Island, Chile (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images)
Tourists stop to admire the massive stone sentinels of Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island in Chile. (Photo by Jane Wooldridge/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
The massive stone sentinels of Ahu Tongariki seem imperious, an uncompromising guard against the gluttonous sea crashing at its flank on Easter Island in Chile. (Photo by Jane Wooldridge/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
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It has also been shown to increase the longevity of a variety of animals including fruit flies, yeast, and a species of worm; this enhanced lifespan has been attributed to the suppression of a protein called mTOR.

A separate study on mice showed that males and females treated with rapamycin lived 9 percent and 14 percent longer, respectively, compared to the control group.

Despite promising results related to anti-aging, scientists caution that there may be unknown adverse long-term effects, notes the Daily Mail.

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