SCIENCE

Startup bets 'young blood,' taken literally, fights aging

A file photo of blood units prepared for storage (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova).

A file photo of blood units prepared for storage (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova).

If you'd like to fill your veins with the blood of young people, you need only drain your bank account of $8,000. That's right, young blood is now joining the ever-growing ranks of "cures" people are paying for to combat age-related diseases and even aging itself.

The California-based startup Ambrosia is conducting a clinical trial testing the effects that blood from younger people (ages 16 to 25) has in older bodies, and it hopes to convince 600 people to each pay $8,000 for a single 1.5-liter transfusion of plasma (blood without blood cells), reports Business Insider.

So far, 30 have had transfusions. "I'm really happy with the results we're seeing," says founder Jesse Karmazin. The claims of "rejuvenation" are scoffed at by scientists who say the study is too poorly designed to offer real results, while others call the pay-to-participate aspect a scam, reports MIT Technology Review.

"You're basically abusing people's trust and the public excitement around this," one neuroscientist cautions. But Karmazin, a Princeton grad who has a medical degree but is not licensed to practice, isn't the only researcher interested.

Several clinical trials are currently investigating whether younger blood can help treat certain diseases, including a degenerative disorder called progressive supranuclear palsy. But transfusions are not risk-free; hives, injury, and infections are all possible outcomes.

(One boy picked up a peanut allergy after a blood transfusion.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Startup Bets 'Young Blood,' Taken Literally, Fights Aging