Certain proteins can help repair damaged cells.
Only in this movie does Khan's blood have the power demonstrated. It was never mentioned in "Space Seed" or Star Trek II, and he couldn't use it to save his beloved wife before Wrath of Khan.
But augment DNA was used in Enterprise and had Augment style treatment in DS9.
They say blood in Into darkness but im guessing its just a simple way of saying stem cells. Remember JJ Abrahams thinks the audiance stupid.
And what amazing resurrection properties did augment DNA demonstrate in either Enterprise
? And don't say stem cells in this context because we're talking about a technique unknown to Federation medicine. Remember, this cured a little girl of a terminal disease and brought both Kirk and a tribble back from the dead. Stem cells don't do that. Federation doctors can't do that. But the blood of a selective breeding subject from the mid 20th century can? That strains credulity ... we've strayed into vampire or comic book territory now.
, the Ceti Alpha eels were
a little convenient, but there was nothing magical about their survival ... Khan kept them alive, possibly to help ensure his control of the others, possibly as a morbid reminder of his dead wife. Perhaps he tormented his "pets" in retribution. But if you want magic in Wrath of Khan
, then look no further than the ridiculous Genesis Device ... and guess what? I didn't like that thing either. So there's no double-standard.
Why do people get cancer? Because the cell's DNA has mutated and it reproduces all throughout the body until the normal cells can no longer function. As we get older, our cells lose the ability to replicate themselves cleanly which is why older people get cancer more frequently, and it's also why a traumatic event will be more deadly for an old person. Death is caused when the cells in vital organs can no longer replicate or replace themselves (excluding the brain- any damage to vital areas of the brain will also cause death).
If augment blood can repair or replace dead or dying cells, which seems to be the case, then there's your answer. How? We don't know, we're not told, other than platelets (which, really, don't help in this case), but obviously there's something else in the augment's blood that can do it (stem cells included). This article explains the stem cells found in regular blood
. Scientists right now are studying ways to promote cell repair and replication because they believe it is the key to helping humans live longer and healthier lives (the study of Progeria is helping scientists understand why people are prone to heart disease and stroke as we age).
So at least there's a theory- at least it's not a magic box like the Genesis Device.