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Biotech Medicine

Transfusions Reverse Aging Effects On Hearts In Mice 130

Posted by Soulskill
from the assuming-it's-not-vampire-fanfic dept.
symbolset writes "Research published yesterday in the journal Cell (abstract) by Richard Lee and Amy Wagers of Harvard has isolated GDF-11 as a negative regulator of age-associated cardiac hypertrophy. 'When the protein ... was injected into old mice, which develop thickened heart walls in a manner similar to aging humans, the hearts were reduced in size and thickness, resembling the healthy hearts of younger mice.' Through a type of transfusion called parabiotic or 'shared circulation' in mice — one old and sick, the other young and well — they managed to reverse this age-associated heart disease. From there, they isolated an active agent, GDF-11, present in the younger mouse but absent in the older, which reverses the condition when administered directly. They are also using the agent to restore other aged/diseased tissues and organs. Human applications are expected within six years. Since the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, we can probably expect someone to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer."
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Transfusions Reverse Aging Effects On Hearts In Mice

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  • by sneezinglion (771733) on Friday May 10, 2013 @12:52PM (#43686403)

    Didn't Heinlein predict this as what people did to mimic the Howard families longevity? I think he wrote about it in "Time Enough For Love"

  • Blood Trade (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Githaron (2462596) on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:40PM (#43686997)

    Since the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, we can probably expect someone to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer.

    Volunteer? People give blood because they want to help someone who they usually envision as having a horrible illeness not because they want some rich, old guy to live longer than the norm.

    I think there will more likely be a blood trade where the young (or criminal organ harvesters) sell blood to the old. Either that or some sort of blood Ponzi scheme similar to Social Security where you pay blood in when you are young that is immediately used by the old and recieve blood from the young when you are old. Of course, everything breaks down when the previous generation becomes smaller than they current one. Although, I would not be surprised if by that time there would be synthetic blood that would serve the same purpose.

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