The Young Blood Cure for Aging?

A Florida physician offers to rejuvenate oldsters with young people's plasma.



At a recent Palm Beach society gala, Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj sought to sign up some rich old people for a clinical trial in which he plans to transfuse blood plasma from young people into the bodies of baby boomers in hopes of rejuvenating them, STAT reports.

As part of his sales pitch, Maharaj cited recent research in which scientists who had surgically attached old mice to young mice found that doing so rejuvenated the tissues of the old mice. So far no one has attempted to knit the body of a baby boomer to that of an underemployed millennial, but the rodent research has inspired a number of researchers to launch experiments in which blood plasma drained (voluntarily!) from young people is transfused into the older people's bodies.

For example, Alkahest reported the preliminary results from a clinical trial in which in its researchers transfused young plasma into 18 people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Only very modest improvements in cognitive function were observed. Another company, Ambrosia, is charging people $8,000 to enroll them in its young blood transfusion trials. The company reports that its subjects exhibit improvements in various biomarkers associated with aging.

In his trial, Maharaj intends to inject his young blood donors with Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. The idea is to boost their plasma's rejuvenation powers by stimulating their bodies to release bone marrow stem cells into their bloodstreams. Maharaj promises to match participants with appropriate donors, but he does note that participants can bring their own donors. This brings to mind HBO's Silicon Valley episode featuring Gavin Belson's blood boy.

Plasma transfusions may or may not work, but the utlimate goal of this research is to find and isolate the factors in youthful blood that will confer vim, vigor, and vitality on those of us who are feeling the ever-closer approach of the Grim Reaper.