'Young blood' transfusions to prevent aging are unproven, risky

Kenny Tucker
February 22, 2019

The US Food and Drug Administration Tuesday, February 19, warning older consumers against seeking infusions of blood plasma harvested from younger people. Some clinics claim the procedure works like a fountain of youth to reverse aging and memory loss or even treat diseases like dementia, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, heart disease or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Plasma contains molecules such as signaling proteins and clotting factors but lacks red or white blood cells.

In fact, the agency warns that plasma infusions can transmit infectious diseases, cause allergic reactions and overload the body's circulatory system.

In addition to there being "no compelling clinical evidence on its efficacy", the FDA says there's no information on the appropriate dosing. Plasma infusion is an approved use by the FDA in trauma settings or in those whose blood doesn't coagulate.

According to HuffPost, Karmazin said he didn't feel FDA approval of his own study of the merits of young plasma therapy was necessary - and the results of the study have never been released. Some "bad actors" have gone as far as charging thousands of dollars for these young-blood infusions.

They note that as well as not having any recognized benefits for the conditions these companies say they are treating, people having any kind of plasma treatment could experience side effects.

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"As a general matter, we will consider taking regulatory and enforcement actions against companies that abuse the trust of patients and endanger their health with uncontrolled manufacturing conditions or by promoting so-called "treatments" that haven't been proven safe or effective for any use", the statement read. "We will use our tools and authorities to protect patients from unscrupulous actors and unsafe products".

Young Blood Transfusion Company Ambrosia Halts Treatments Ambrosia, the best known company providing infusions of blood plasma from younger donors, made a decision to stop treating patients following FDA's warning.

In order to demonstrate whether or not they are effective and safe, new treatments are required to undergo a number of studies.

The FDA said that anyone providing plasma transfusions for a non-FDA-recognized objective should have what's known as an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA. For example, a biotech company called Alkahest is now testing a plasma-derived product in Alzheimer's patients; a previous study from the company yielded mixed results.

The FDA said it'll monitor the issue and take appropriate steps with state and local health departments and blood establishments.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, warned in a statement Tuesday against getting infused with blood plasma from young donors.

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