Human blood plasma obtained from umbilical cords revitalizes the hippocampus and improves cognitive function in aged mice, according to a new study published in Nature. The research was done by a team led by Stanford University neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray. The researchers injected human cord plasma into old mice, and found that they could better remember how to run through a maze than those receiving no injections. This research builds on earlier parabiosis studies in which young mice were stitched together with old mice. Those studies found that being exposed to young blood rejuvenated the organs and muscles of old mice.
In this new study the researchers isolated a blood protein TIMP2 from umbilical cord plasma and injected it into old mice where it boosted their memories almost as well as the young plasma did. The Stanford team suggests that TIMP2 could be used therapeutically to improve aging human brains.
However, other researchers cite experiments that found that old blood has a build up of factors that contribute to aging by inhibiting cellular repair and that young blood does not rejuvenate.
Wyss-Coray is the founder of biotech startup Alkahest which is running a small clinical trial aiming to see what effects that injecting blood plasma from young people into 18 people suffering from Alzheimer's might have. The results are slated to be reported later this year. Last fall, Alkahest reported that injecting old mice with blood plasma from young humans had rejuvenating effects on their bodies and brains.
In the meantime, another company Ambrosia is offering a clinical trial now in which participants are injected with young plasma derived from donors ranging in age from 15 to 25 years old. One month after participants received two-liters of plasma, the company begins checking for charges in 100 biomarkers for any rejuvenating effects. The company controversially charges participants $8,000 for the privilege of participating. Last year, Inc. magazine reported that venture capitalist and self-described libertarian Peter Thiel had expressed interest in Ambrosia's trial.
Ultimately the goal of this research is not to drain Millenials of their plasma to benefit Baby Boomers, but instead to isolate and synthesize the anti-aging compounds in young blood.
For more background see my article, The Vampire Cure for Aging.