Is Young Blood a Fountain of Youth?

In the novel ASTEROIDS – Bridge to Nowhere, Colonel Cruikshank visits “The Spa” for special treatments. The colonels treatment involves a procedure known as parabiosis in which the blood of young boys is exchanged for his old blood. In the book, the process provides amazing results for old Colonel Cruikshank. He looks and feels years younger. His hair becomes fuller and his skin becomes supple. The process leaves his young subjects feeling drained and weak.

You’ll have to read the book to learn how the boy’s from the gymnasium get their revenge.

While the novel is fiction, the idea that young blood can rejuvenate ageing people is real.

In the early 2000s a group of scientists at Stanford University, California, revived a grisly procedure used in the 1950s known as parabiosis. They paired living mice, young with old, peeled back their skin and stitched together their sides so the two animals shared the same blood circulatory system. A month later, they found signs of rejuvenation in the muscles and livers of the old mice. The findings, published in 2005, turned the minds of scientists, entrepreneurs and the public to the potential of young blood to rejuvenate ageing people. By 2016, enough interest had grown to prompt a US-based startup called Ambrosia to start offering pricey infusions of young plasma – the cell-free component of blood. 

Meanwhile, a clutch of scientific startups are trying to discover the secrets of parabiosis and use them to tackle age-related disease. By identifying factors in plasma that change with age, they aim to create therapies that either supplement what’s beneficial in young blood or to inhibit what’s detrimental in old. One is even beginning to report early clinical trial results.

“There’s still a long way to go – blood is complicated,” says Aubrey de Grey, who leads the nonprofit Sens (strategies for engineered negligible senescence) Research Foundation. “But there are many excellent labs focused on this, so I am optimistic about progress.”

Source: The Guardian

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