US company offers young blood to stop ageing
IN A recent episode of HBO's hit series Silicon Valley the character of Gavin Belson - a billionaire tech mogul - is given blood intravenously from a younger man.
Why? To stave off the ageing process.
"Regular transfusions of the blood of a younger, physically fit donor can significantly retard the ageing process," he explains to confused onlookers.
Funnily enough, this is a case of art imitating life.
Real life tech billionaire Peter Thiel - who invests heavily in death curing research - absolutely thinks this could work and following studies that seem to support the idea, companies are beginning to offer up the blood of youth.
A US start-up called Ambrosia is charging $US8,000 ($11,000) for blood transfusions from young people to those looking to turn back the clock.
About 100 people have signed up to receive an infusion, according to the company's founder Dr Jesse Karmazin, CNBC reported.
The company buys its product from blood banks supplied by donors under the age of 25, but the samples typically come from teenagers.
Blood transfusions come with a variety of risks, including allergic reactions but Dr Karmazin says so far none of the clients who have undergone the procedure have reported any adverse effects.
The idea comes from research by scientists at institutions including top US universities like Stanford and Berkeley where scientists have conducted studies of parabiosis - the joining of two living things - on mice.
Researchers have successfully used the blood of younger mice to reverse the observable age of older mice.
"Exposure of an aged animal to young blood can counteract and reverse pre-existing effects of brain ageing at the molecular, structural, functional and cognitive level," wrote researchers in 2014 paper in the journal Nature Medicine.
But in the grand scheme of things, the science and its potential application to humans is highly disputed. But apparently, some people are willing to cough up of cash on what is essentially a gamble.