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Stanford, UCSF Researchers Use 'Vampire Mice' To Show Newer Blood Can Rejuvenate

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Bay Area researchers have found it's possible the much-sought-after fountain of youth could be running with blood, and they've used 'vampire mice' to prove their theories.

Scientists at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco have discovered blood found in young mice seems to have the ability to turn back time with older mice.

UCSF researcher Saul Villeda said there may be some truth in folklore. "Everyone brings up vampires or other cultures that blood was given some sort of special position," said Villeda.

Researchers injected old mice with young blood and noticed they were able to complete a basic tasks such as maneuvering through a maze more easily.

"And these old mice were much closer to what we found in the old mice," said Villeda. "So they were at an age when we knew they had impairments, however, just giving them this young blood could rejuvenate it."

Researchers saw an improvement in the mice is less than a month after transfusion. The blood's impact worked in reverse as well. Young mice with old blood had to cope with age-related issues.

It's a bit of a stretch to say the fountain of youth is already inside us, but scientists are confident they're onto something. The researchers point out it will take time before humans may benefit from this discovery.

"There's hope. The aging process is not final. It's plastic," said Villeda. "Some of it is reversible."

Researchers hope to begin human trials in the next two to three years.

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