To Jesse Karmazin, blood is a drug. His startup, a Monterey, California-based company called Ambrosia, is currently enrolling people in the first US clinical trial designed to find out what happens when the veins of adults are filled with the blood of young people.
So far, though, no one knows yet if blood transfusions can be reliably linked with a single health benefit in people. And researchers doubt Karmazin’s trial will come away with sufficient evidence to point us in that direction.
“There’s just no clinical evidence [that the treatment will be beneficial], and you’re basically abusing people’s trust and the public excitement around this,” Stanford University neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who led a 2014 study of young plasma in mice, recently told Science magazine.
For starters, to participate in the trial, you have to pay. And it isn’t cheap. The procedure, which involves getting 1.5 litres of plasma from a donor between the ages of 16 and 25 over the course of two days, costs US$8,000.