A new start-up called Ambrosia is selling blood transfusions to wealthy executives for thousands of dollars, promising them numerous health benefits and potential anti-aging properties.
Jesse Karmazin is selling teen blood for $8000 per transfusion to hopeful executives who seek to cure health problems associated with aging and potentially halt the aging process altogether. So far, Karmazin has accumulated 100 of these “vampires” as clients.
Seeking the immortality of vampires
Consuming the blood of young teens, even intravenously, conjures images of vampires. The idea that blood from the young could revitalize those who have begun aging, and promise immortality, is an ancient one.
We generally view the idea of using blood from young virgins to stay alive as a psychopathic endeavor undertaken by monsters; Horrifying historical figures such as Vlad the Impaler, and Elizabeth Bathory who apparently bathed in the blood of young maidens. So why would Karmazin wish to cash in on such a gruesome idea?
Karmazin claims to have amassed an overwhelming amount of data to support his venture. He began the venture with co-founder Craig Wright this year after his venture xVitality Sciences didn’t pan out. The pair claim that they don’t need FDA approval as plasma treatments are well-known as safe and effective already.
While receiving plasma transfusions carries little risk, there is a small chance of allergic reaction. Nevertheless, are the promised benefits real? Most skeptics claim that the effects would be placebo at best.
Is this high-class pseudoscience?
Karmazin cites studies undertaken with mice, where researchers practiced parabiosis. Parabiosis is when scientists surgically combine two living creatures to become one. On the Ambrosia web-site, he lists many studies which in themselves are not necessarily conclusive.
The author of a 2014 parabiosis study, Tony Wyss-Coray is a great skeptic of Karmazin’s start-up. Being intrinsically involved with the subject of how effective transfusions from young to elderly mice are, he asserts there exists no clinical evidence or basis for Karmazin’s claims. In fact, Wyss-Coray has gone as far to say that this is potentially a scam, as he feels Ambrosia is abusing people’s trust.
And it is not just the lack of conclusive evidence produced in the parabiosis studies with mice. Many scientists know that animal experimentation is fundamentally flawed, to begin with. A research paper in the Cambridge University Press from 2015 entitled The Flaws and Human harms of Animal Experimentation laid out very succinctly how inefficient such science is.
When most medications go to market, they have first undergone animal testing, and then they progress to human clinical trials. Karmazin is essentially accumulating clientele by asking them to pay to take part in supposed ‘clinical trials.’ Bioethicists such as Leigh Turner, who works at the University of Minnesota, believe that using an umbrella of clincial trials, it appears the company is giving a false impression of legitimacy.
The science seems sketchy at best. Nevertheless, the claims recipients have made about the benefits of consuming the blood of the young abound. Allegedly it could potentially cure things like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and Stroke.
So, is Karmazin is onto something that has been the dark knowledge of vampires for centuries? Or he is hawking a very expensive and elaborate placebo? Let us know what you think in the comments below.