Can Blood from Young People Slow Aging? Silicon Valley Has Bet Billions It Will

SourceNewsweek
SectorIndustrial
CountryGulf

Dimitri Otis/Getty The Spanish firm Grifols set off a kerfuffle last year when it nearly doubled the going price for blood donations for a COVID-19 treatment trial. Brigham Young University in Idaho had to threaten some enterprising students with suspension to keep them from intentionally trying to contract COVID-19. The trial failed, however, and now the Barcelona-based firm is hoping to extract something far more valuable from the plasma of young volunteers: a set of microscopic molecules that could reverse the process of aging itself.Earlier this year, Grifols closed on a $146 million-deal to buy Alkahest, a company founded by Stanford University neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray, who, along with Saul Villeda, revealed in scientific papers published in 2011 and 2014 that the blood from young mice had seemingly miraculous restorative effects on the brains of elderly mice. The discovery adds to a hot area of inquiry called geroscience that focuses on identifying beneficial elements of blood that dissipate as we age and others that accumulate and cause damage.

In the last six years, Alkahest has identified more than 8,000 proteins in the blood that show potential promise as therapies. Its efforts and those of Grifols have resulted in at ...read more...