Researchers at the National Institute on Aging say the drug, SRT-1720, reduced the amount of fat in the liver and increased sensitivity to insulin, allowing the obese mice to live an average of 44 percent longer than obese mice not given the drug.
Drugs similar in their composition to SRT-1720 are currently undergoing clinical trials in humans, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The mouse studies "demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of designing novel molecules that are safe and effective in promoting longevity and preventing multiple age-related diseases in mammals," study leader Rafael de Cabo and colleagues wrote in the journal Scientific Reports.
Other researchers have been following the studies with interest.
"This is good evidence that this compound has a positive effect on the physiology of the obese animal, and that is definitely promising for humans," said Jan Vijg, an expert on aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.