‘Fresh blood’ for sale in New York
NEW York is getting another parlour offering eternal youth. It's not meditation. It's not the latest fad diet. It's not fitness.
Ambrosia Medical says it will open a clinic there within weeks.
It will take the fresh, living blood of teenagers and inject it into the veins of older people. And it will only cost $US8000 ($11,000) for every shot.
If you're feeling somewhat over-the-hill, it may sound like a plan.
But there's as yet no scientific basis behind claims it actually works.
Start-up founder and Stanford Medical graduate Jesse Karmazin told Business Insider the results of internal tests by his company were "really positive".
Those results have not yet been made public. Nor have they been supplied to other researchers for validation.
But Ambrosia Medical can go ahead with its controversial clinical service because blood transfusions have long been approved by the US Food and Drug Adminsitration.
ELIXIR OF YOUTH
Ambrosia does not have to prove its treatment gives significant benefit to its customers. No more so than those marketing homoeopathy or other 'wonder' holistic health deals.
It just isn't allowed to do any harm.
And blood transfusions are nothing new.
The California-based company says it has injected about 1.5 litres of blood plasma from volunteer donors into each of 150 patients over the course of two days since it started up in 2016. Only 81 of those had officially been taking part in their clinical study.
Blood plasma is a yellowish fluid that carries cells and nutrients through the circulatory system. Young people tend to produce more of these proteins. So it's hoped that by adding more to older recipients, their blood flow will be reinvigorated.
Donors were aged between 16 and 25. All were given extensive health checks before their blood was taken.
Recipients were chosen on a pay-to-participate basis. Patients were charged $US8000 for the procedure. The storefront price of the service offered by its clinic is yet to be set.
Once in their veins, each 'set of new blood' was once again tested for biomarkers (biological traces) indicating health and vigour.
"The trial was an investigational study. We saw some interesting things and we do plan to publish that data. And we want to begin to open clinics where the treatment will be made available," an Ambrosia spokesman said.
Among the claims the company makes is a 'dramatic improvement' in protein health which - in turn - is supposed to reduce inflammation, brain function and general health.
CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE?
Interest, it seems, is healthy.
Ambrosia claims it has already received more than 100 inquiries from the denizens of New York about getting the treatment within days of posting a new web page last week.
So they've created an online waiting list.
"So many people were reaching out to us that we wanted to make a simple way for them to be added to the list," the company says.
But scepticism at Ambrosia's methods and intentions is high.
Despite studies in mice showing young blood in old veins can reverse some signs of ageing, this has not been reliably demonstrated in humans.
"It's still a bit creepy for many people. At meetings, people talk about vampires," says neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford University in California, who led one of the brain studies into mice.
But he says that unease will soon give way to excitement.
Not everybody agrees.
Experts have highlighted that the Ambrosia study in humans, as outlined, contains only limited double-blind control procedures - and no placebo comparison point. This means there is no way to be sure the results are accurate, or being produced by the procedure itself.
Instead, Ambrosia is selling hope.
"The therapeutic implications are profound if this mechanism holds true in people," Matt Kaeberlein, a biologist who studies ageing at the University of Washington, Seattle, told Science. But that "is the million-dollar question here, and that may take some time to figure out."