Parabiosis studies involve connecting the circulatory systems of two genetically identical mice, resulting in modest rejuvenation in the older mouse of the pair. The path from those animal studies to age-modifying therapies in humans has been one of twists and turns. At first, the research community focused on potentially beneficial factors in young blood. Elevian's work on GDF11 is still ongoing as an outcome of that research. Over the same period of time, plasma transfusions from young to old humans have produced a lack of convincing data.
Later experiments strongly suggested that the real benefit was dilution of harmful factors in old blood, and it remains to be seen as to where that leaves Elevian. Of late, further evidence has arisen to point to the quality of albumin in blood as an important factor, with the hypothesis that dilution works because it usually involves delivery of albumin along with saline or plasma, and thus reduces the amount of harmfully modified albumin already in circulation, rather than for any other reason. Dilution is fairly easy to carry out, and physicians are already doing this for self-experimenters. It still needs a reasonably sized human trial, however, to confirm the beneficial results observed in animal studies.
Lfyspn is a new company set up to run exactly this sort of clinical trial, to establish plasma dilution, or albumin replacement, or both, as simple means to improve late life health. Their view is that this is an approach that should be considered immunomodulatory in nature, leading to a reduction in inflammatory signaling and improvements in tissue function downstream of that primary effect. More research is needed in order to understand the details, but benefits to health in humans can still be quantified well in advance of that work.
Plasmapheresis is a procedure that removes plasma from whole blood, swapping out unhealthy plasma and replacing it with healthy donor plasma or a plasma substitute. Plasma is part of blood, a fluid made up of water, proteins, and essential nutrients. In certain diseases, as well as in aging individuals, certain harmful substances accumulate in plasma and may lead to organ damage. Lyfspn, a company backed by Khosla Ventures, is conducting a plasmapheresis trial in the Bay Area for longevity benefits - and is actively seeking trial participants, particularly those from the biohacking community.
The idea that plasmapheresis could aid longevity started, as is so often the case, in mice, in an experiment called parabiosis. It was shown that when two mice - one old, one young - are connected through their skin, the end result is common circulation, with the blood of each animal, in effect, diluted by 50% and the young mouse experiencing accelerated aging and the older mouse benefiting from rejuvenation. Experiments over the last seven or eight years to discover exactly what it is in the blood that causes this rejuvenation have failed at a cost of millions of dollars. A change of approach was needed. "Last year we published other experiments in mice, that didn't involve connecting two mice. Instead, we transfused blood from mice into another - a process we call dilution - and we saw the same beneficial effects occurring."
"What else became obvious from the original research is that the effect isn't just the removal of bad substances from the blood. This is something people don't pay close attention to, but plasmapheresis, probably by the removal of certain substances, actually causes immunomodulation - the whole immune system functions differently, and, for the most part it functions better after plasmapheresis, with an increase in certain beneficial factors in the blood. This is one of the most exciting findings, but it's a complex process that warrants this further research."
Lyfspn is a physician-led venture-backed startup company working to invent novel therapies that will allow us live longer, healthier lives. The Lyfspn team is passionate about bringing therapies to the world that find their basis in basic science research. Lyfspn is currently planning to carry out a pilot study of our lead longevity promoting therapy candidate, a novel apheresis-based treatment. Apheresis is an existing therapeutic modality which plays an important role in the management of many diseases including more than 50 autoimmune disorders, a number of rare neurologic conditions, and Alzheimer's disease. Apheresis is emerging as a prevention and therapy for other age related medical conditions.