October 19, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Anti-aging and the billionaires young blood & stem cell club

Old man getting young blood:Season 4 episode 5 of Silicon Valley, Blood Boy
Parabiosis with older man getting young blood to fight aging: Season 4 episode 5 of Silicon Valley, “The Blood Boy”.

What is the Billionaire’s blood & stem cell club and how does one get into that?

The focus of what I’m satirically calling this “billionaire’s club” is on anti-aging and prolonging life. If you have a lot of money and are willing to take risks on yourself toward some specific goal such as staying young or fixing some disease or injury via spending big bucks, the young blood & stem cell club might be right for you. Billionaires tend to be risk-takers any way, right?

There have been some whispers (and even a recent article or two), in the last couple years especially, of rich and often famous folks getting sketchy stem cell and other “out there” biological “treatments.” Of course, we all heard about Rick Perry’s stem cell shots (see here for example) and about the famous celebrities who’ve gotten stem cell offerings from clinics including in particular aging former sports stars, some near and dear to people’s hearts.

However, this new phenomenon, if it exists, is different in some ways.

There’s almost a club-like feel to what I’m hearing of rich folks, especially older and aging men but also some women, dropping large sums of money for all kinds of stem cells and other iffy stuff. Maybe there’s a “let’s all catch a game or grab a drink, and then go get injected with XYZ” stuff together kind of feel. The ‘stuff’ they’re getting injected with can range from their own stem cells to placental stem cells to some mystery product to animal stem cells.

And, of course, young blood.

Maybe a few pints a couple of times a year of some teenager’s “youthifying” blood for $50K or $100K? Far-fetched? See the image above from an episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley where an older guy (maybe the writers were thinking this was supposed to be Peter Thiel-like?) gets a younger one’s blood to try to fight aging. Silicon valley is apparently one real epicenter of expensive, unproven, alternative therapies like some of the kinds of stem cells out there.

What could go wrong, right?

There are some big names floating around that could constitute a club-like group, which may tend to encourage one another to try the latest thing. As the oldest president ever, I wonder if Donald Trump has considered stem cells or even gotten some? I’ve never heard that, but it wouldn’t shock me. They say stress ages one so the last month might have Trump looking for some fountain of youth.

I suppose if one has the money, is aging, and is into risk taking, what’s to stop them from giving it a go and maybe turning it into a clubby thing?

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