Young Blood for Macular Degeneration Treatment

Young Blood for Macular Degeneration Treatment

Young biology holds many beneficial healing properties. Using donated blood by volunteers below thirty years old may soon become a valuable treatment for macular degeneration. 

As you age, various parts of your body degenerate which includes naturally occurring reactive proteins that help rapidly heal a young body. Nature knows that the most viable hunter is the one in their youth which is why most young people bounce back from injury and muscle fatigue much faster. 

Now, scientists are beginning to link the anti-aging remedy of replacing aging blood with young blood to benefiting macular degeneration treatment

AMD Blood Compromise

Several studies have looked at the differences in the blood makeup of healthy patients as compared to those with AMD (age-related macular degeneration). In addition, some studies looked at potential sight compromise in the lineage bloodline as well. What was found was a significant difference in specific biomarkers. 

Combined research in a Harvard study which looked at the blood of AMD compared to non-AMD concluded that,

“…this work provides additional evidence that patients with AMD present an altered plasma metabolomic profile as compared to controls, and that these profiles vary with disease severity.” 

In other words, you may have specific markers in your blood as a result of AMD development. These markers are being studied as a potential warning in asymptomatic patients and being reversed or replaced in those already experiencing full AMD development. 

Another study shows inflammatory markers in AMD blood. Published in Frontiers in Immunology (4/19/18), a combined study titled ‘C-Reactive Protein as a Therapeutic Target in Age-Related Macular Degeneration’ by researchers from Spain, England, Japan, Turkey, and Italy concluded that,

“The reduced ability to control the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory signals associated with aging might promote a switch to chronic inflammation in the macular tissue…combined with aging associated processes such HS [heparan sulfate] loss and an increased pro-inflammatory environment, may eventually result in complement activation, persistent mCRP [monomeric form C-reactive protein]-induced inflammation, and thereby contribute to AMD progression.”

By incorporating ‘young blood’ proteins into aging blood it is believed that diseases such as macular degeneration could be treated and possibly reversed.

Mad Science May Lead to AMD Repair

Parabiosis is a practice derived in the mid-1800s. It’s pretty close to the mad scientist scenario you may think of when the it comes to crazy science fiction experiments. Parabiosis is when surgery is performed on a young mouse and an old mouse where they are sutured together so they could share the same circulatory system. 

As barbaric as it may sound, parabiosis, which lost traction in the 1800’s was revived in 2005 by Stanford University scientists. It was found that blood from young mice could possibly rejuvenate and allegedly reverse aging but more science was needed. Yet, soon after this study emerged, upwards of $8,000 per liter of young blood hit the “healing” market in the hopes of it becoming a kind of youth elixir. Due to unsubstantiated and non-medical testing, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) put out a warning to all companies peddling ‘young blood’ to cease and desist. A warning was also sent to the general public to beware of such practices which claimed curing age-related diseases such as Alzheimers and macular degeneration. 

However, one laboratory jumped through enough hoops and have finally received FDA approval to test young blood combined with aging blood and how such a combo may affect AMD and other diseases. 

In Clinical Trials

A multinational plasma company named Grifols teamed up with researchers from San Carlos, CA biotech company Alkahest to supply thousands of blood samples for the FDA approved study. The samples held various proteins the researchers were searching for, namely those that increased or decreased due to aging. It was shown that the proteins that increased with age were the most damaging and attributed to a slow, steady, systemic degeneration. 

Those proteins that decreased were mostly found in young people and responsible for cell rejuvenation, rapid tissue repair and enhanced brain function. The company is currently undergoing FDA approved clinical trials. These are the first human tests using macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s in its model for young blood treatment. It is considered a type of ‘human-parabiosis’ with some touting it as the next wave of precision medicine. 

Dr. Karoly Nikolich is CEO of Alkahest commented to CBS News, stating, 

“This is a fundamental new insight into understanding the molecular basis of aging.”

Molecular Identification 

‘Looking to Young Blood to Treat the Diseases of Aging’ was published in the ACS Central Science Journal which discussed the above mentioned manipulation of Stanford’s research. However, this study also mentioned how, in addition to the recent FDA approved study, other laboratories are attempting to identify not only markers but actual molecules that may contribute to AMD either negatively or positively. It was stated that,

“Rather than trying to reverse aging, they’re identifying the molecular factors responsible for the changes seen in parabiosis experiments in hopes of targeting specific diseases associated with aging, such as age-related macular degeneration.”

According to Eric Verdin, CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, “Right now, conducting a clinical trial for aging is extremely difficult,” This is why targeting contributing molecules may be a faster track rather than transfusing young blood into older patients and hoping for the best. Not to mention the enormous ethical and medical compromises that may accompany such a radical move. 

If this research continues the way it is going there may come a day in the not-so-distant future when young adult children will be giving their parents a blood package. Harvesting young blood to stave off diseases such as macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and so many more could change the face of health as we know it. Until then, small steps identifying molecular structures and using stem-cell programs toward macular treatment are getting closer to a cure everyday.