Jeff Bercovici, Inc's San Francisco bureau chief, published a story today revealing something Peter Thiel told him during an interview last year—and it may give you a whole new perspective on the, uh, impetus behind the Thiel Fellowship.
Bercovici says Thiel has shown an interest in a form of parabiosis, an old surgical technique that involves connecting the circulatory systems of two organisms, where one is usually younger than the other. It drew inspiration from naturally-occurring instances of shared blood supply—conjoined twins, for example.
In other words, Thiel is curious about whether blood transfusions from young people could help keep him young, Bercovici writes:
After briefly discussing the pros and cons of caloric restriction, human growth hormone, and the diabetes drug metformin, Thiel said this:
"I'm not convinced yet we've found a single panacea that works. It's possible there exist single-point things that could work. I'm looking into parabiosis stuff, which I think is really interesting. This is where they did the young blood into older mice and they found that had a massive rejuvenating effect. And so that's … that is one that … again, it's one of these very odd things where people had done these studies in the 1950s and then it got dropped altogether. I think there are a lot of these things that have been strangely underexplored."
I followed up to ask if he meant parabiosis was "really interesting" as a business opportunity or a personal-health treatment.
He made it clear he was talking about the latter.
This explains Thiel's interest in Ambrosia, a California-based company conducting a clinical trial that gives participants over the age of 35 (who have to shell out $8,000 to take part in the study) a blood transfusion from donors 25 and under.