Mitochondrial transplant therapy appears to make immune systems younger

Mitrix Bio says that translating results seen in animal models would be equivalent to reducing the age of the human immune system by 30 years.

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Scientists at Californian longevity biotech start-up Mitrix Bio are testing a new therapy to boost immune system strength using tiny particles called “mitlets” that contain mitochondria. The company says that injections of mitlets in animal models appear to reverse immune weakness, making old immune systems temporarily young again. In multiple tests, old or sick animals receiving the injections showed reduced cytokine storms and significantly improved survival against bacterial and viral infections.

Longevity.Technology: Mitochondria are the power generators within our cells, and their dysfunction is linked to a wide range of age-related diseases. The longevity potential of mitochondrial transplantation is an interesting area, and the mitlets technology being developed by Mitrix is something on which we’ve been keeping a close eye. This latest announcement from the company represents a shift in focus towards immunotherapy. With papers submitted for review, we look forward to hearing more from Mitrix on the detail of these animal studies.

Naming the treatment HISET (short for Human Immune System Energetic Transplantation Therapy), Mitrix says that it expects the therapy to be compatible with other immunotherapies such as CAR-T, monoclonal antibodies and checkpoint inhibitors. Following completion of animal testing, Mitrix expects to move HISET into human trials.

“If the results we are seeing translate to humans, the results would be roughly equivalent to making the human immune system 30 years younger,” said Tom Benson, CEO of Mitrix. “This potentially gives doctors another tool to fight infectious disease such as COVID, pneumonia, sepsis, and blood infections. HISET could not only provide supplemental mitochondria during illness but could potentially help longer-term treatment of other conditions, notably in the battle against cancer.”

Dr Eric Boilard (centre) and some of his team in the lab.

Dr Eric Boilard from University Laval in Canada initially discovered mitlets in 2014, and the technology has been further researched by Mitrix.

Mitlets are mitochondria-containing extracellular vesicles that platelets, T cells, NK cells, neutrophils, and other immune components are believed to exchange to conserve energy. Mitrix uses special bioreactors to grow young mitlets, which are injected into the body, where immune cells absorb them and use the mitochondria inside. After a few days, the new mitochondria seem to be discarded so the benefit wears off, but Mitrix suggests that multiple injections could potentially be used to extend the effect.

“Mitlets can be compared to rechargeable battery packs which can be swapped back and forth between power tools we buy at the hardware store,” says Boilard. “Mitlets enable immune components to work harder and last longer – a clever evolutional adaptation that helps our immune systems better fight infections.”

Mitrix is based in Pleasanton, California and boasts a scientific advisory board including Dr. Michael Snyder, Chair of the Genetics Department at Stanford University, and Dr. Thomas Rando, Director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center and former director of the Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Stanford University.


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