To say that start-up Ambrosia Medical offers a service to its customers that is out of the ordinary would be an understatement. The promise is to lengthen life expectancy and cure diseases – by transfusing the blood of young adults.
Though appearing centuries or perhaps a millennia ago, the myth of the vampire continues to chill the blood of the most impressionable minds across the ages. For Jesse Karmazin however, founder of Ambrosia Medical, the myth has become a source of inspiration in his work.
The Boston psychiatrist offers his clients the possibility to transfuse young blood, with the aim of curing diseases and prolonging their lifespan.
A project under construction
While studying medicine at Stanford, Karmazin said he observed numerous transfusions of patients and noted the differences between injecting old and young blood. Thus, in 2017, Ambrosia decided to recruit subjects to carry out his first clinical trials in the United States.
The aim of these experiments was to find out the outcome of a young-donor-to-adult-recipient blood transfusion. Although the results have not been made public yet, Karmazin says they are ‘very positive’ and has already announced his ambition to open a first clinic in New York at the end of the year. He and his chief of operations David Cavalier are currently looking for a place to establish themselves, as well as investors.
A controversial method
It should be noted that although he has studied medicine, the psychiatrist is not technically qualified to practice as a physician. However, the transfusions already having been authorized by the entity responsible for drug products’ regulation (FDA), it seems that Ambrosia will not encounter any major obstacles in its approach, nor will it have to demonstrate that its method provides any health benefit whatsoever.
The start-up has already transfused 150 patients between the ages of 35 and 92 according to Cavalier. Among them, 81 were participants in the clinical trial and paid $ 8000 (about 6000 pounds) to take part in the experiment. This consisted of injecting 1.5 litres of blood taken from donors between the ages of 16 and 25 over the course of two days and under the supervision of physician David Wright, director of a private IV therapy center in Monterey, California.
What are the tangible benefits of such transfusions? Jesse Karmazin is not the first to look into the effects of young blood on the body and though several studies have already been conducted on this topic, the results remain very preliminary.
‘There is simply not enough clinical evidence [that this treatment will be beneficial],’ says neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, lead researcher of a 2014 study of plasma in mice. He adds: ‘And he simply abuses the patients’ trust and the public’s enthusiasm around that.’ Perhaps it would be better to wait before letting go of those 6000 pounds.