Two new studies have shown that a transfusion of young blood may be able to halt or even reverse the effects of ageing. The two parallel studies found that young blood contains a protein, known as GDF11, in large quantities, but these levels drop as we age.
The research was undertaken on mice, but it showed that injecting elderly mice with young blood, or simply with this protein, caused ‘recharges’ to the brain, new blood vessels to form, and improved memory and learning. Researchers are hoping to begin human trials in the next two to three years.
Last year the team discovered that GDF11 could repair damaged hearts, but these studies in mice show that it has the capacity to improve the function of every organ in the body.
Professor Doug Melton, of Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, said of the results, “There seems to be little question that GDF11 has an amazing capacity to restore ageing muscle and brain function.”
It is hoped that these findings will lead to new therapies for ageing and drugs to treat dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
But it is important that you don’t try this at home. Injecting blood which is not genetically compatible with your own can have dire consequences, from transmitting deadly diseases to causing your immune system to attack itself. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait for this treatment to go through human trials before you can access it safely.
You can find out more at The Telegraph website.