FDA: Infusing yourself with young blood is pointless, unsafe

Pearl Mccarthy
February 22, 2019

The FDA didn't mention any companies by name, but one that has been drawing attention of late is Ambrosia Health, a San Francisco start-up founded by Stanford Medical School graduate Jesse Karmazin. A report by The Verge cites a Monterey, California-based company called Ambrosia that takes "intravenous infusions of plasma from young donors, who are in the age range of 16 to 25".

A government website lists a clinical trial sponsored by Ambrosia that included 200 people who received young donor plasma treatments. However, the procedure is becoming increasing common as some clinics say that it can reverse memory loss and aging while working as a fountain of youth, or also treat post-traumatic stress disorder, heart disease, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, dementia, and other diseases.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, warned in a statement Tuesday against getting infused with blood plasma from young donors. Therefore, "We strongly discourage consumers from pursuing this therapy outside of clinical trials under appropriate institutional review board and regulatory oversight".

And past year, STAT reported on a gala event in West Palm Beach, Fla., meant to convince aging baby boomers to pay to enroll in a clinical trial testing another approach to young-blood transfusions. It contains proteins that help clot blood and can be used for the management of bleeding and clotting abnormalities.

"Young plasma is the result of research into the science of blood", the website reads.

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Gottlieb mentioned that "a rising variety of clinics" are providing plasma from younger donors and related therapies, although he didn't identify any specifically.

Amid the increasing popularity of this supposed anti-aging treatment, the FDA raised the red flag on the promotion and use of plasma from young donors for different health conditions because the treatment has not yet been scientifically proven effective. "This is not an appropriate use of plasma", he said.

"Moreover, reports we're seeing indicate that the dosing of these infusions can involve administration of large volumes of plasma that can be associated with significant risks including infectious, allergic, respiratory and cardiovascular risks, among others", they added. Plasma infusion is an approved use by the FDA in trauma settings or in those whose blood doesn't coagulate.

In 2016, it was reported that the company plans to study the Ambrosia anti-aging effect of the plasma of young people, which will to pour the volunteers, aged 35 years.

The thinking behind young blood transfusions stems from a somewhat gruesome experiment conducted in the 1950s, when a Cornell researcher connected the circulatory systems of a young and old mouse, according to New Scientist's Helen Thomson.

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