Drink, er, Swallow Up: Red Wine Health Benefits Can Be Put Into a Pill, Drug Maker Says

A drug company founded by a Harvard professor says its found a way to pack the health-boosting benefits of red wine into a pill, Reuters reports.

Researchers at U.S. drug-maker Sirtris Pharmaceuticals said compounds that act like the red wine ingredient resveratrol can be used in pill form to fight age-related diseases like type 2 diabetes.

"The excitement here is that we're not talking about red wine anymore. We're talking about real drugs," David Sinclair, an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and a co-founder of Cambridge, Mass.-based Sirtris, told Reuters.

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"This is the first time that real drugs have been designed to go after diseases through the genes that control aging," said Sinclair, whose research appears in the journal Nature. "One of the drawbacks of resveratrol is the doses need to be large. Now this paper says you can reduce it into a little pill taken once a day."

Sinclair and other researchers have tested some 500,000 molecules to isolate a handful that are said to be 1,000-times stronger than resveratrol. He said the company plans to test the molecules in humans in the first half of 2008 once it receives approval to do so from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.