Here’s an update on the state of those studies that showed that infusing blood of younger animals into olders ones reversed some effects of again. Human studies are underway – small, but worth keeping an eye on – from a startup out of Stanford called Alkahest. Their website isn’t really even running yet, but maybe they just have their priorities in order?
The Alkahest trial is small. (Sharon) Sha can enrol only 18 people aged 50 to 90 with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Each receives a unit of young human plasma or saline once a week for four weeks. They have the next six weeks off, then have four more weeks of infusions. Those who had plasma first time around get saline and vice versa. The process is blinded, so neither the patients, nor their carers, nor Sha herself, know who is receiving what. Throughout the trial, doctors will look for cognitive improvements. Only at the end of the trial, as soon as October this year, will Sha analyse the findings.
One sobering statistic from the article says that the world’s supply of plasma would be enough to treat about three per cent of the worldwide Alzheimer’s population. So if it turns out that young plasma really does make a difference, we’re going to have an immediate supply problem. I would assume that the plasma supply would shoot up, because young blood will immediately become more valuable, but even so. . .
Alkahest (and others) are thus searching for the active components in that plasma, and that (one hopes) will turn out to be the answer.