Why is it important to store my cells now?
As you age, so do your cells. The reason for this is that cells sometimes make mistakes when they copy DNA, and they sometimes fail to fix those mistakes. They can also be damaged by outside forces, such as ultraviolet radiation. When this happens, your body continues to reproduce cells with mistakes in their genetic codes, and this weakens the cells. That’s why older cells aren’t as good at correcting damage to DNA, generating new cells, producing energy, and fighting disease. And mutations, or genetic mistakes, accumulate more rapidly as cells age. This is particularly important for stem cells, which are tasked with repairing damage in your body.
The best cells you will ever have are the ones you have right now. Storing them now may mean that if you have to fight disease in the future, you can use your younger, healthier cells instead of your older, weaker ones. Biobanking with GoodCell might just give you a fighting chance against cancer, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, heart disease, and a host of other diseases.
Read more about: effects of damage on stem cells, changes in stem cell function based on age, how damage to cells affects aging
Are there risks associated with a blood draw?
The risks associated with blood draws are extremely minor. You may experience slight bruising, discomfort, or inflammation after the draw.
How do I prepare for my blood draw?
There’s nothing you need to do to prepare. Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before. The amount of blood drawn is quite small, so fainting, lightheadedness, and nausea are unlikely, but let your phlebotomist know if you’ve had issues with these in the past.
What if I can’t produce 40 mL of blood during my appointment?
No need to worry! Even in the highly unlikely event that we’re unable to collect enough blood to fill the vials, we’ll still process and store your sample. Then, we’ll get in touch with you to schedule another appointment so that you can take full advantage of everything GoodCell has to offer.
How does my sample get to the lab?
The phlebotomist assigned to draw your blood will FedEx it directly to our facility as soon as the draw is complete. All shipments are overnight and temperature-regulated to ensure that your sample maintains a high quality.
How do I know my sample is stored safely?
Our bioprocessing laboratory and storage facility is FDA registered and CLIA certified, ensuring proper handling and secure storage of your biological samples for years to come. Temperature regulated storage devices (freezers and liquid nitrogen dewars) are individually alarmed, monitored around the clock, and backed up by onsite electrical generators. Our facility houses millions of samples and is trusted by the National Institutes of Health, as well as the largest pharmaceutical companies in the United States.
What kind of stem cells does GoodCell store?
We store tissue-specific blood stem cells, which are used today to treat many forms of cancer, as well as some immune diseases. We do not store induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Instead, we store certain types of white blood cells (also known as leukocytes or peripheral blood mononuclear cells — PBMCs). Scientists have developed methods to easily and efficiently turn white blood cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which may be very effective in treating certain diseases.
How long do my stored cells last?
Once your cells are cryopreserved, we keep them at a specific temperature and storage state indefinitely, until you need them. There are no studies (yet) on how these particular cells hold up over time in cryostorage. However, studies have shown that cord blood cells preserved in the same way were viable and functional for transplant after more than 25 years of storage.
Read more about: longevity of cryogenically preserved biological samples
Am I too old? Is it too late for me to store and still benefit?
Since your cells are always aging, it’s always better to store earlier. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s too late if you’re older. Anyone who plans to live at least another ten healthy years has the potential to benefit from personal biobanking.
How long have stem cells been used in treatment and therapy? Are they safe?
Doctors have been using stem cells to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions for over 50 years. The most commonly used stem cells are hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), also known as blood stem cells. HPCs are powerful tools for replenishing diseased blood systems and curing blood diseases. HPC transplants are commonly used, effective treatments for certain cancers, metabolic disorders, and, recently, autoimmune diseases.
Stem cells are also the basis for skin grafts used to treat burn patients and bone grafts used to treat orthopedic injuries. There is a huge amount of active international research aimed to developing stem cell therapies to treat cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, heart disease, and many other conditions.
When used properly, in research-backed, FDA-approved ways, stem cell therapies are both safe and effective. Currently, there is a relatively small number of such therapies, but that number is growing steadily as clinical trials continue. More than 100 trials are underway around the world right now.
Some companies and organizations tout stem cells as cure-alls or miracle treatments that can fix any medical issue you might have. That’s not the case — at least not yet. GoodCell never condones, promotes, or engages in any stem cell therapies unless they have undergone many years of clinical trials and are shown to be both safe and effective. We believe that in the future, maybe even the near future, stem cells may offer highly effective therapies to treat many different diseases and conditions. But we also emphasize that medical research is ongoing, and anybody considering a stem cell treatment should make sure they know exactly what they’re getting.
Does GoodCell collect and store mesenchymal stem cells?
GoodCell does not specifically isolate and store these kinds of cells, though they could be derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which we can easily generate from the white blood cells that we store. However, the use of mesenchymal stem cells to treat disease is currently very controversial, and there are no FDA-approved mesenchymal therapies.
How can I access my sample when I need it?
If you ever need to use your sample, we’ll ask for a written medical letter from a doctor as proof of necessity. We will work directly with your healthcare provider to make sure they can access the cells and use them as necessary.
Is there an additional cost for retrieving my sample?
No. If you need your sample, we’ll retrieve it for free. You will only be responsible for any costs associated with transporting the biological material to the approved medical facility.
Is there a storage fee?
Your storage fee is covered by your subscription.
What happens if I miss a payment?
Nothing will happen to your sample if you miss a payment. We will continue to contact you for payment for 60 days. If you have not paid for more than 60 days, GoodCell reserves the right to gain ownership of your sample.
How many times can I use my sample?
The number of viable stem cells in your sample is limited, so you cannot use them indefinitely. The number of times you can use your stored stem cells depends upon both which and how many stem cells you need for a specific use. With that said, you can use your DNA and blood plasma multiple times, if needed.
What can GoodCell tell me about my sample?
Your blood contains quite a bit of information. As soon as we receive your sample, we’ll run a series of tests on your stem cells, DNA, and blood plasma. This gives us information about your level of susceptibility to disease and bodily damage, as well as your general health, genetic predispositions, and more.
What can I learn from analyzing my stem cells?
Stem cells are your body’s first resource for repairing damaged tissue. The most important thing we can do with them is, of course, storage.
But you can learn from your stem cells as well. After we collect them, we run tests to determine how much damage they have sustained throughout your life. Damage to your stem cells — or any cells — typically comes from one of two places. First, it can come from external sources, such as ultraviolet radiation (a leading cause of melanoma). Second, and more importantly, damage to your cells can come from tiny mistakes in DNA sequencing during cell division. When a cell divides, it must copy its DNA so that the new cell can properly function. This happens millions of times every day, and occasionally, a mistake will occur. Normally, your cells catch those mistakes and destroy the faulty cell that results. But sometimes, mistakes go unnoticed and are copied to future cells.
The more damage to your cells, the worse they will likely be at fighting disease if it occurs. We’ll estimate the quality of your stored stem cells to give you a better idea of how you’re doing.
Read more about: effects of damage on stem cells, changes in stem cell function based on age, how damage to cells affects aging.
What can I learn from analyzing my DNA?
With our DNA testing, we currently offer screening for:
· predispositions to certain diseases (e.g. familial hypercholesterolemia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s);
· genes associated with certain inherited diseases (e.g. cystic fibrosis, fragile X, Tay-Sachs);
· genes associated with certain wellness and lifestyle factors (e.g. alcohol flush reaction, lactose intolerance, caffeine consumption).
We’re constantly expanding our range of genetic screening services, so be sure to check back often.
Read more about: genetic predispositions, using markers as predictors of health and mortality, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, hemochromatosis (iron overload), mutations
What can I learn from analyzing my plasma?
Blood plasma contains markers that can be good ways to measure the function of certain organs, including the heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, ovaries, prostate, and more. With plasma, we can run lipids panels, liver function panels, and much more — just as your doctor would.
But we take a more proactive approach than most doctors, because we use your first sample as a baseline, and we store it so that we can run additional tests later on. This gives us much more in-depth information about your blood and about your overall health.
Read more about: links between certain blood test results and mortality
What is identifiable data?
Identifiable data includes protected health information, such as information about your health status, any healthcare you have received, or payments for healthcare that can be linked back to you as an individual. This includes your test results, medical records, and payment history.
What information does GoodCell collect?
Personal information, such as:
· Sex assigned at birth
· Gender (if different from sex)
· Date of birth
· Billing & shipping addresses
· Payment information
· Contact information (such as email address or phone number)
· Protected health information
Protected health information, such as:
· Personal information (mentioned above)
· Medical history (when provided)
· Laboratory test results
· Other health information provided by you
Web behavior data, such as:
· Browser data
· Device information
· IP address
What is de-identified data?
De-identified data is information that cannot be reasonably linked to a specific individual. HIPAA provides a safe harbor method for the de-identification of protected health information, which includes the removal of the following 18 identifiers:
· Specific geographical identifiers
· Dates (other than year) directly related to an individual
· Phone number
· Fax number
· Email address
· Social Security number
· Medical record number
· Health insurance numbers
· Account number
· Certificate/license number
· Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers (e.g., license plate numbers)
· Device identifiers and serial numbers
· IP address
· Biometric identifiers, including finger, retinal and voice prints
· Full face photographic images and any comparable images
· Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code
Will GoodCell share my information with anyone?
Good Cell will never sell or lease/rent your identifiable data to any third party (including academic researchers) without your explicit consent. Even with your consent, Good Cell limits the sharing of identifiable data outside of the company as much as possible.
That said, there are a few specific instances in which we do we share information with others in order to provide you with our services, including:
· Laboratory partners who store your cells and provide testing services
· A company that processes payments (and is contractually obligated to protect your privacy and security)
· Legal guardians or personal representatives (if applicable) that you have given permission to have access to your data
In addition, there may be special circumstances where we need to disclose identifiable data as permitted under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), including:
· In response to a court order, subpoena or other lawful process
· In connection with public health activities, such as reporting diseases to authorized public health authorities
· As otherwise required by applicable law
How will GoodCell use your de-identified data?
Upon permission from you, we share de-identified data in specific ways that help advance medical care and the clinical practice.
Subject to applicable law, we may also share de-identified data through research collaborations with universities, hospitals, laboratories, or other companies. The list might include the patients’ age range (in decade), gender, and GoodCell data.
What are the benefits of sharing de-identified data?
Sharing de-identified data helps to accelerate medical research and is an essential component of improving treatments, medications and therapies.
In addition to customers owning and controlling their genetic data, GoodCell also believes that your information is more valuable when shared. We encourage customers to choose to share their de-identified information with the medical and scientific community to help accelerate our understanding of medical conditions, improve testing, find new therapies, and eventually prevent disease.
How can you set your data sharing preferences?
The easiest way to set your data sharing preferences is by logging into GoodCell Profile. For all GoodCell testing you may opt out of sharing certain de-identified data. If you cannot access your online account, you can also inform GoodCell of your preferences by contacting us via email or phone.
Opting out means that GoodCell will no longer share your de-identified data in accordance with your preference settings. However, we cannot withdraw or reverse the sharing of any de-identified data that may have been disclosed prior to you opting out.
How does GoodCell secure my data and stored materials?
We process and store your sample in our state of the art, FDA-registered, CLIA/CAP certified lab and biorepository. This biorepository houses millions of samples and is trusted by large biotech companies, as well as the National Institutes of Health.
The site is secured and monitored around the clock, with all temperature regulated storage equipment on alarm notification and generator backup to ensure safe, controlled long term storage.
Upon your request and consent and working with your physician or a clinical researcher, we will transfer your cells to an identified facility or another FDA approved storage facility.
As a healthcare company, we are subject to and fully comply with the privacy and security requirements under HIPAA. We take great care to use technical, administrative and physical safeguards to secure your personal information and protect it against misuse, loss or alteration. Information that you provide through our websites is encrypted using industry-standard secure sockets layer (SSL) technology.