Tech kings in Silicon Valley have found an app for everything, except immortality. But they’re working on it! A start up named Ambrosia Labs thinks it may have found the secret to reversing the aging process. Take the blood of younger people and put it in older people. Perfect.
The concept has actually been floating around for awhile, and a joke about it even made it into an episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, showing the character tech billionaire Gavin Belson get a transfusion from a handsome young man named Bryce. It’s a very clean exchange, but it still gave me the squicks:
CNBC reports that this somewhat preposterous and upsetting idea is actually getting some traction. On Wednesday, Ambrosia Labs founder Dr. Jesse Karmazin announced at the Code Conference that he has a list of 100 people who have signed up to receive blood transfusions from “younger people.” Teens, beware! Don’t go into that lab! Actually, right now participants must be over 35 to receive, under 25 to give, so college students are in danger, too.
Dr. Karmazin says the charge for one of these special infusions will be $8,000 a pop, but right now he’s at a difficult stage. Generally speaking, getting older isn’t studied as a disease, though we tend to treat it that way culturally. Therefore, medical studies aren’t really focused on how to “cure” it. The doctor says that so far the people who have received transfusions have had some positive effects, though he won’t say they’ve reversed the aging process—yet. He’d like to recruit hundreds more customers to get a better study of what happens when we fill our bodies with the blood of the young.
Obviously, this is in some ways a tale as old as time. Dracula is basically the story of death preying on life to extend itself, except now we have to take it seriously as a venture capital prospect. This is in part due to the support of noted billionaire Peter Thiel, who is likely whom Gavin Belson is based on. According to Inc., Thiel is obsessed with anti-aging processes and has sunk a bunch of his fortune into experimenting with various processes that will save him from death, including “parabiosis,” or blood sharing.
While Dr. Karmazin says Thiel has never visited him for a transfusion, he could have gone abroad to other places experimenting with the process. As far as he knows, no one else in the U.S. is doing what Ambrosia Labs does. Yet. There is no FDA approval necessary for blood transfusions, so who knows what the future holds?