The participants' similar genetic makeup has made it possible for Barzilai's team to isolate a supergene called "CETP." The gene appears to have helped centenarians like Irving Kahn stay healthy longer.
"(Irving Kahn) has a gene that controls the good cholesterol," Barzilai said. "This is the HDL cholesterol. And we found that people who have this mutation in the gene have higher good cholesterol, but also they are protected from heart disease and from cognitive decline and Alzheimer's."
Researchers are currently developing a pill which they hope will mimic the supergene's anti-aging effects that have allowed people like Irving Kahn to drink from the fountain of youth."