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Transfusions Reverse Aging Effects On Hearts In Mice

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the assuming-it's-not-vampire-fanfic dept.

Biotech 130

symbolset writes "Research published yesterday in the journal Cell (abstract) by Richard Lee and Amy Wagers of Harvard has isolated GDF-11 as a negative regulator of age-associated cardiac hypertrophy. 'When the protein ... was injected into old mice, which develop thickened heart walls in a manner similar to aging humans, the hearts were reduced in size and thickness, resembling the healthy hearts of younger mice.' Through a type of transfusion called parabiotic or 'shared circulation' in mice — one old and sick, the other young and well — they managed to reverse this age-associated heart disease. From there, they isolated an active agent, GDF-11, present in the younger mouse but absent in the older, which reverses the condition when administered directly. They are also using the agent to restore other aged/diseased tissues and organs. Human applications are expected within six years. Since the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, we can probably expect someone to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer."

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C. Montgomery Burns (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686137)

Find me the blood of a young boy, Smithers... quickly...

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686353)

This is of course why Pope Ratzinger died: Ran out of babies to eat.

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (2)

zifferent (656342) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686395)

Not to endorse Pope Nazinger, but he's dead yet.

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686841)

Or so They say. "Retired" from the Papacy to a secretive Home for Ex-Popes? Indeed, a less embarrassing public explanation than a breakdown in the stolen-babies-for-laundered-money exchange system between the Vatican banks and the mafia.

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687967)

""Retired" from the Papacy to a secretive Home for Ex-Popes? "

Retired, but Extremely Devoted. (RED)

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (3, Informative)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688259)

I don't think that there's any evidence that he was a Nazi. He joined the Hitler Youth program at 14 because the law required it, and he was drafted into the German military later on because again, the law required it. There are accounts suggesting that he didn't like being in the former, and he deserted from the later. Pretty much any German of his age would have gone through the exact same thing, whether they supported the Nazi regime or not. The only ones who didn't were killed either under Action T4 or just for insubordination.

I'm not standing up for him by the way, personally I couldn't care less about anything the Vatican does. I'm an atheist so I have no reason for doing so anyways; I'm just stating the known facts.

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688583)

This is of course why Pope Ratzinger died: Ran out of babies to eat.

Did the pub close early today?

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686437)

Find me the blood of a young boy, Smithers... quickly...

Actually, wasn't this process central to the plot of a 1950s Vincent Price/Roger Corman film or something like that? Seems like it rings a bell.

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (1)

show me altoids (1183399) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686763)

I remember a TV series from when I was a wee lad, The Immortal [imdb.com] . A guy has something special in his blood that makes him effectively immortal. An old rich dude chases him around to harvest the blood for himself.

Re:C. Montgomery Burns (1)

komodo685 (2920329) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686915)

In other news John McCain has tabled his recent 'a la carte' TV channels bill and is currently drafting legislation for 'a la carte' bloodpacks.

Finally! (2)

Iridium_Hack (931607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686151)

Now I know why Vampires live so long!!!

GMO & Keith Richards (1)

j-stroy (640921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686179)

How long before we farm transfusions from a donor critter or lab grown spleen vat.

and in other news Keith Richards.

Re:GMO & Keith Richards (1)

Iridium_Hack (931607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686469)

Heh. Heh. And where will you sell your products . . . In the grocery store - near the fruit and vegetables?

Re:GMO & Keith Richards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687289)

Plenty of room in the Fruits section

Let me be the first to say (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686155)

I really didn't mean all those things I said about young people.

You can hang out on my lawn.

Re:Let me be the first to say (2)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687761)

Your looking a little scruffy there youngster.... Let me show you how we shaved back in my day... whoops, my hand slipped, let me clean that up for you.

*grabs a straw* [blogspot.com]

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688939)

You know, back in my day vampires meant something. Next thing you know they're all sad and emo. Next they're sparkly and spend eternity hitting on highschool girls. Now they're your grandpa.

I tell ya. They don't make vampires like they used to.

Re:Let me be the first to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688671)

Spike! Get in the house! . . . (oh right, sign!) . . . (grab, throw)

Hey kids, fresh sod! I got fresh sod here! No dog! No sign! No line! No waiting!

Oh look, somebody left spray paint here!

Vampires (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686157)

"the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, we can probably expect someone to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer."

Creepy - vampires anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686161)

Sounds like Dorian Grey or Count Dracula finally found the Fountain of Youth.

In a Vile of younger blood.

Vampire mice from Harvard: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687065)

In this case, it's only Dorian gray mouse so far.

Re:Vampire mice from Harvard: (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687467)

I expect the results of those experiments to be false. The mice are just messing with us.

Re:Vampire mice from Harvard: (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687813)

Just proves the mice/rats are rising the dominance.

The cycle continues. [smbc-comics.com]

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686173)

All those cartoon and movie monsters that gain youth by sucking the life force from young victims....

Yup, here we are.

Re:So... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686247)

All those cartoon and movie monsters that gain youth by sucking the life force from young victims....

Hey, man, try to keep up - it's the biotech companies who make this stuff available [peprotech.com] that are cast as the monsters these days.

Re:So... (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686603)

You mean like the Umbrella corporation? Or are they still called Monsanto?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686779)

Will ACME be the first to offer these transfusions?

Nice, it's about time... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686193)

That blood sacrifices of the young made a come back. They've been out of fashion for much too long...

What about the young mouse? (1)

Dareth (47614) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687315)

Did anyone check to see if the young mouse was "less healthy" afterwards?

Re:What about the young mouse? (4, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687679)

Why would you do that?

Bad news, Amy! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686211)

You are fired. I don't want to get any younger!

- Professor Farnsworth.

ridiculous header (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686237)

Sure, they used reverse transfusions to figure out what was going on, but then they isolated the active agent and were able to reproduce the effect with just that. They may continue using reverse transfusions as a research tool, but actual therapies are just going to be pills or shots, probably of chemicals produced by engineered bacteria.

Re:ridiculous header (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687665)

So, where do I sign up? Or is this a case of having to break in? It's okay if I have to break a few laws. I'll just be younger leaving than when I go in.

Re:ridiculous header (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687835)

Bah! you're no fun.

Ah ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686255)

Soon the old will be harvesting the young ... awesome!

Nothing about what happens to the young, healthy mouse. But expect the old and rich to be draining the life essence of the young any time soon now.

I for one welcome our new life-sucking old-people overlords. ;-)

I'm not even sure of how many movie/book plots this covers.

Re:Ah ... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686455)

a lot of Vampire ones no doubt - The Hunger [imdb.com] was particularly relevant in that Bowie ends up drained and old which ties in with other comments about potential accelerated ageing of the young donors.

Very stylish film too, lovingly shot with lots of fabulous lighting.

Re:Ah ... (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687481)

I'm not even sure of how many movie/book plots this covers.

It probably covers 80% of the Simpsons stories involving Mr. Burns.

Effects on donor? (4, Insightful)

BooMonster (110656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686295)

Hopefully they also monitored effects on the younger mouse. Twould be a shame if people started doing these experiments on humans, and then find out that it accelerates aging in the donor.

Re:Effects on donor? (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686501)

Twould be a shame if people started doing these experiments on humans, and then find out that it accelerates aging in the donor.

They only did shared circulation in the first part of the experiment. Once they isolated the effective compound, shared circulation was no longer necessary. If this proves to be beneficial in humans, then most likely, the GDF-11 could be manufactured using GMO, but if it is extracted from human blood, it will almost certainly be extracted from donated blood that is not reinjected into the donor. We already know that donating blood is good for you [lef.org]

Re:Effects on donor? (3, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686527)

Why?

We're always making younger people.

Re:Effects on donor? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687487)

That's just a fucked way of perpetuating the species.

Re:Effects on donor? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689427)

It has a higher success rate. For people here anyway.

Queue snake oil "young blood" products (2, Funny)

Covalent (1001277) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686305)

"New, from Almay, our all new hemoceutical line...containing pure bionutrient yb1, found in young and healthy blood. Make your face look up to 10 years younger in just four weeks..."

"Because you're worth it"

Re:Queue snake oil "young blood" products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688889)

*Sigh*. Halfway through the comments and everyone thinks this is a fountain of youth. IT ISN'T! This only affects the heart, not any other organs. It will keep your heart healthy, but not your lungs, liver, skin, brain, or any other organ. This will only benefit those who are prone to heart disease.

"Volunteer" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686313)

That's with cutesy air-quotes.

6 years? Not really. (3, Insightful)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686315)

Human applications are expected within six years.

Ha ha ha no. Sure, perhaps 6 years until the first Phase II clinical trials report safety and proof of concept efficacy. But 6 years until you can go to a clinic and have this done? No way. Drug development takes about a decade.

But this does sound like an interesting approach.

Re:6 years? Not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686631)

Depends on what country you're in.

Pretty sure they're already doing this in India & China.

Re:6 years? Not really. (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687497)

Pretty sure it's been done for centuries in Transylvania.

Re:6 years? Not really. (1)

speederaser (473477) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689639)

Drug development takes about a decade.

The vitamin supplement market is unregulated so I'm sure there will be "GDF-11" supplements on the market in less than a year. This is just too good to pass up.

Will it work? Your guess is as good as mine.

I've seen this movie.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686339)

Wasn't this that movie called "In Time" with Justin Timberlake?

Interesting (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686345)

Can it help with my good AIDS?

Get yours now (if you're brave) (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686363)

Can't wait? Buy it online now. Did a Google Shopping search, looks like you can buy the stuff now "for research purposes only", of course.

Am I going to do it? Hell, no. Too expensive. xD

The new pedobear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686379)

Now there is a new reason to wear clothes that make you unidentifiable and drive around in a white van with tinted windows while offering candy to little kids at the park who help you find your lost puppy.

This is why we can have nice things. (2)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686393)

Seriously, science, I love you.

Iron Maiden (1)

njhunter (613589) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686401)

Get your iron maiden!

Heinlein Prediction.... (4, Interesting)

sneezinglion (771733) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686403)

Didn't Heinlein predict this as what people did to mimic the Howard families longevity? I think he wrote about it in "Time Enough For Love"

Re:Heinlein Prediction.... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686429)

Didn't Heinlein predict this as what people did to mimic the Howard families longevity? I think he wrote about it in "Time Enough For Love"

Yes, in that and other books.

Re:Heinlein Prediction.... (3, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686623)

First he did it at the tail end of "Methuselah's Children"

Re:Heinlein Prediction.... (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686701)

There was also Poul Anderson's _The Boat of a Million Years_

Re:Heinlein Prediction.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686937)

It was at the end of Methuselah's Children. When they returned to Earth, everyone had a Howard Family lifespan, due to blood transfusions from the "Public Health and Longevity Service"

treatment becomes widespread but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686467)

something we couldnt possibly have anticipated goes wrong!

and....zombies

The Princess Bride? I know what it will be called! (1)

jtollefson (1675120) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686479)

I do hereby coin the term Rugenics, courtesy of our Life Sucking friend Count Rugen from the Princess Bride.

Obligatory YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbgyppGqBgg [youtube.com]

Re:The Princess Bride? I know what it will be call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686525)

I think Elizabeth Bathory claims prior art!

Why the need to share blood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686531)

Why does this process have to involve sharing blood? If it can be reliably shown that the protein in question is indeed the only active agent, why not just manufacture it somehow and then inject it regularly?
I can foresee several different manufacturing processes, including organs being grown in tanks...

Re:Why the need to share blood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686655)

Ixian bastard. We all know "tanks" is a euphamism.

Re:Why the need to share blood? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687417)

Ixian? Try again...

Re:Why the need to share blood? (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687093)

"including organs being grown in tanks"

So, does that have to be an M1 Abrams, or will the more common T-72s and the like work?

Re:Why the need to share blood? (1)

skids (119237) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687709)

They were testing long-ish term exposure of the older mouse body to blood constantly filtered through the younger mouse's system. Doing that is apparently cheaper and more humane than harvesting and transfusing 24x7.

Any treatment they (meaning any sanely regulated or ethical medical establishment) develop from this won't expose the donor, that would violate a lot of laws, policies, codes and consciences.

So Bathroy was on to something (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686541)

Maybe the Countess was not so crazy?

Send in the Clones (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686561)

If this research pans out I doubt GDF-11 is the only factor that can repair damage. While stem cell treatments have not worked well in the past I have to wonder how well this treatment method would work with a clone of yourself. Indeed these lab mice are probably very closely related if not nearly clones. Just to increase the Yuck-Factor here, how about creating therapeutic clones for just this purpose (or any other) by not letting the higher brain develop.

Re:Send in the Clones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687429)

Why not let the higher brain develop? You're already paying to house and feed the clones, might as well get them to do your chores, too.

Re:Send in the Clones (1)

skids (119237) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687723)

Or use them as a captive board game opponent.

What do you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686573)

Poor countess Bathory [wikipedia.org] was doing it all wrong.

Vampires (1)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686633)

Had it right all along.

That is if... (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686695)

GDF-11 works the same way in humans as it does in mice.

So what the scientists are saying (2)

Afty0r (263037) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686783)

Is that Vampirism works?

Paywall (5, Funny)

RDW (41497) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686985)

For anyone who doesn't subscribe to the journal, here's an interesting extract from the full text, describing early phase human testing of the procedure on a Romanian subject:

"There lay the Count, but looking as if his youth had been half renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey; the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath. The mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran down over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood. He lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion."

Re:Paywall (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687071)

RDW wins the Comment Of The Month award.

Re:Paywall (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687577)

And two of the moderators wins the "dumbass of the week award".

30% Interesting
40% Insightful
30% Funny

Don't ask me why two of the mods are worth 30% each and the other one is worth 40%. Complain to Slashdot and the problem will get fixed, tomorrow or even sooner.*

* sorry if I broke anyone's Sarcasm-O-Meter.

Blood Trade (4, Interesting)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686997)

Since the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, we can probably expect someone to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer.

Volunteer? People give blood because they want to help someone who they usually envision as having a horrible illeness not because they want some rich, old guy to live longer than the norm.

I think there will more likely be a blood trade where the young (or criminal organ harvesters) sell blood to the old. Either that or some sort of blood Ponzi scheme similar to Social Security where you pay blood in when you are young that is immediately used by the old and recieve blood from the young when you are old. Of course, everything breaks down when the previous generation becomes smaller than they current one. Although, I would not be surprised if by that time there would be synthetic blood that would serve the same purpose.

Re:Blood Trade (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687137)

Volunteer? People give blood because they want to help someone who they usually envision as having a horrible illeness

You don't think heart disease is a horrible illness?

not because they want some rich, old guy to live longer than the norm.

Don't think "some rich, old guy." Think "your grandpa."

Heinlein gets another one right (1)

ChrisKnight (16039) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687019)

In Methuselah's Children, one of the secrets to longevity treatments is transfusions with 'young blood'.

Insurance (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687031)

Insurance Company's would pay for this. The longer you live, the more money you can pay them. Of course this doesn't resolve Cancer and other ailments you will no doubt catch. The longer you live, the more likely you are to die from some deadly decease. It's Natures way of ridding the World of your vile ways, you will never live forever, no matter how much teenage blood you absorb.

Embrace reality, you are going to die and there is nothing you can do about it.

Not to through too much cold water, but: (2)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687037)

We've found an awful lot of candidate treatments that work well in mice that work poorly or not at all in humans.

Not out of the woods yet (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687107)

There's a bit of a caveat. Will old atherosclerotic arteries be able to supply the oxygen that young healthy myocardial tissue demands?

Re:Not out of the woods yet (1)

r2kordmaa (1163933) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689107)

Only one way to find out. Now that would be one interesting human experiment, easy too. Old blood sure as hell wont make you old but young blood might make you younger(sort of). Blood transfusions are banned in sports as doping for a reason. It would be really interesting to know results of circular transfusions between very young and very old subjects. You could probably make use of some coma patients that are destined to pulling the plug anyway.

Babylon 5 flashback: Deathwalker: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687243)

She would approve.

Jha'Dur (Deathwalker): You will fall upon one another like wolves. The billions who live forever will be a testimony to my work, and the billions that are murdered to provide that immortality will be the continuance of that work. That will be my monument!

(I don't think that, but the parallel was just too good to pass up. :)

Re:Babylon 5 flashback: Deathwalker: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687387)

In the strictest scientific sense Doctor we all feed upon Death..

And in a way we always knew or know that this is the way to a "kind" of immortal life.. as every generation witnesses renewal in its children.

Who wants for childhood however, more likely healthy adulthood. We just long for more healthy years.

Its not exactly like this will extend life.. that's just the assumption.. its more likely to extend "healthy" years terminating in much the same time span.

But I think most people would be okay with that. Rather than a long slow decline, a quick and abrupt ending.

So in other words (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687337)

Parents could likely live longer with their children if their children hook themselves up to their parents to help reverse the aging process.

And you wonder why family communities do so well versus fuck you, got mine communities.

Wait, you mean... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687693)

Elizabeth Báthory [wikipedia.org] actually had it right??

hmm (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687863)

It seems every week we manage to extend the life of mice or rats, but it never makes its way to humans.

It's not about the blood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687937)

I guess this means Lance Armstrong will live to be 200 years old.

Nothing new here :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688087)

Well, i guess count Dracula found this ages ago. Nothing new here :D

Might have a few interesting ramifications... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688115)

Say bye-bye to Social Security, for one.

And we'll also probably see lots of database issues where a signed char is used to store "age".

Not to mention the whole overpopulation thing...

It's not so easy to even imagine all the possible ramifications if this were to work, though it's obviously a popular enough subject that I'm sure it's been explored.

Government regulation would step in; a black market would develop. Would there be a new war on drugs?

So, a young rat can me me young? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688139)

The original experiment proved that an old rat's heart problems can be solved by a constant transfusion from a young rat, right?

So the logical next step is to see if an old man's heart problems can be solved by a constant transfusion from a young rat?

Well, a man is bigger than a rat, so you probably need a lot of young rats. Let's try it with say 50.

So, know picture in your mind, an old man, connected by blood transfusions from 50 rats kept in tiny little cages.

I bet you can make it mobile - so lets put the rats in a large backpack the old man can carry on his back. :D

Dracula was right! (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689117)

Quick, bring me a couple of young virgins.
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