An influx of “young blood” into an older person’s circulatory system to push back aging sounds like science fiction, but it’s an actual area of study that may hold some promise — and Trump-endorsing billionaire Peter Thiel plans on being the first in line to try it out. Here’s what you need to know about this vampire-like plan.
Peter Thiel Is Pushing For Society To Embrace The Technique
Thiel, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was the first outside investor in Facebook, has poured millions of dollars into anti-aging startups and therapies, and has argued that the rest of society should join him in finding a cure for aging and death.
In an unpublished interview with Bercovici, Thiel expressed his enthusiasm for finding a way to stay young forever — and noted he was willing to try a controversial technique known as parabiosis. “I’m looking into parabiosis stuff … where they [injected] the young blood into older mice and they found that had a massive rejuvenating effect,” Thiel reportedly said. “I think there are a lot of these things that have been strangely underexplored.”
BREAKING EXCLUSIVE PIC Peter Thiel Begins Rejuvenation Experiments With the Blood of Young People pic.twitter.com/Wktsov1zrm
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) August 1, 2016
Parabiosis Has Been Studied For Years
It sounds crazy, but the notion of infusing a young person’s blood into an older person isn’t entirely baseless. In fact, it’s been studied for over 100 years as a potential therapy for not only aging — but also metabolism, diabetes, and cancer. Parabiosis as a term refers to the joining of two organisms together by linking their circulatory systems. The first crude animal experiments starting in the mid-1800s involved slicing into rats and sewing their circulatory systems together — but today, researchers are delving into how to make it work for humans in a much less sticky way.
It’s Believed To ‘Rejuvenate’ Tissues
Young blood transfusions won't turn an old person’s body into a young one. Instead, it works to help rejuvenate tissues and help them repair damage, as stem cell researcher Amy Wagers of Harvard University notes.
It’s Actually Effective — In Rodents
Amazingly, the technique has been shown to be successful in rodents. “By joining the circulatory system of an old mouse to that of a young mouse, scientists have produced some remarkable results,” a 2015 Nature report states. “In the heart, brain, muscles and almost every other tissue examined, the blood of young mice seems to bring new life to aging organs, making old mice stronger, smarter and healthier. It even makes their fur shinier.”
A Human Trial Is Underway
Now, a California-based company called Ambrosia is taking these experiments to the next level and started a trial involving humans. In the trial, participants over the age of 35 will be given transfusions from young blood donors — those under the age of 25 — and researchers will track their blood over the course of two years.
Is Peter Thiel’s vampire dream something we can actually see in the future, a reality of young blood transfusions? Quite possibly. It only seems like a matter of time.