You haven’t seen the Twilight vampire saga, have you? What if I tell you, that your daughter loved it, and by the way, you will need her blood if you want to stay young? Vampires drink the blood of other people, and if they are punctured, as it happens in any decent vampire movie, they even bleed this excess blood spectacularly. Hence they do not really digest, their stomach simply transfers the precious material to their veins. And maybe at just this point of thought, some time in the past Jesse Karmazin got a business idea.
He figured that injecting one with the blood of the young is the key to slowing aging. (No fangs so far, so if you came for a pair, it’s time to get real.) The transfer costs $8,000 and as a matter a fact you’ll be an artificial vampire. Jesse threw up a startup called Ambrosia, which is currently looking for 600 people to undergo a clinical trial in they agree to receive 1.5 liters of plasma from a donor, age 16 to 25, over the course of two days.
“Some patients got young blood and others got older blood, and I was able to do some statistics on it, and the results looked really awesome. And I thought, this is the kind of therapy that I’d want to be available to me,” Karmazin told Business Insider.
Plenty of scientific evidence seems to be gathered behind the bizarre claim. It even appeared in Nature – that young blood reverses age-related impairments in cognitive function and synaptic plasticity in mice. So, why not in humans? – one might ask. The process is nothing new, it’s called parabiosis, which means the anatomical joining of two individuals. It is a 150-year-old surgical technique that connects the veins of two living animals, the word comes from the Greek words para, or “beside,” and bio, or “life.
In a 2014 study, co-authored by Stanford neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, he suggests, that parabiosis could rejuvenate parts of the brain where memories are made and ultimately stored — in mice. Studies in mice though don’t necessarily translate to results in people. The study has already led to a 2015 clinical trial that tested the theory on humans with Alzheimer’s. The results have yet to be published. Th3e method may be promising but selling it already is controversial, Wyss-Coray adds: “There’s just no clinical evidence [that the treatment will be beneficial], and you’re basically abusing people’s trust and the public excitement around this.” He is a competitor though, who started his own company called Alkahest. In the US, nurses perform about 14.6 million of blood transfusions yearly, which means about 40,000 on any given day.
If it parabiosis proves to be successful, then startup Ambrosia will change the way we age. Injecting the blood of the young we will be able to slow or reverse aging. Twilight of vampires will rise.