From the same friend who sent me this, I have just learned that a company in Florida is offering to extract and store a "new kind" of stem cell from a novel source.
"The C'elle menstrual stem cell"
The what now?
From the FAQs:
"What properties has the cell shown?
Menstrual blood contains unique stem cells that express multipotent markers of both adult and embryonic stem cells. These menstrual cells multiply quickly and can differentiate into other types of cells including heart, nerve, bone, cartilage and fat, according to early research. This is the first time researchers have found an adult stem cell that is recurring and readily accessible; can multiply rapidly and has demonstrated capability to differentiate into many other cell types. The C’elle menstrual stem cell can be easily harvested in a affordable, painless and non-invasive manner, as compared to other stem cell sources such as bone marrow, fat or adult peripheral blood."
Well, that sounds promising enough. But...
"Are there any published studies about C'elle cells and their uses?So, not really. Some promising findings, but just one conference presentation and a whole bunch of papers about other kinds of stem cell.
Since the discovery of the C’elle menstrual stem cell, Cryo-Cell has made major advances in the study of this unique stem cell and in the commercialization of processes associated with its procurement, processing, isolation and cryopreservation. For example, Cryo-Cell collaborated with Dr. Amit N. Patel, Director of Cardiac Stem Cell Therapies at the McGowan Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, along with other independent research laboratories, to study these menstrual stem cells, which have demonstrated the capability in vitro to differentiate into neural, cardiac, bone, cartilage, and adipose cells, and possibly other cell types. Dr. Patel’s preliminary findings were presented on October 21, 2007 at TCT 2007, the annual scientific symposia of Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics, in a seminar entitled “Novel Cell Sources for Myocyte Repair and
Replacement”. There are also numerous published studies discussing stem cells with many of the same properties of C'elle cells, although these referenced stem cells are often not nearly as prolific, easy to differentiate, harvest or as non-controversial, as the C’elle menstrual stem cell."
"What is the first anticipated therapeutic use of C'elle?Erm, several years at the very least. Couple of decades maybe. Which isn't to say that it won't work, but at $499 - $1599 for processing plus $99 - $199 in annual storage costs, I don't think I'll be trying this any time soon. I think I'll wait for the publications. And a clinical trial or two. Oh wait, that'll be too late.
Realistically, it may take several years before there are widely available clinical therapies using the C’elle stem cell."
Ah well, I hope my sister's bone marrow is a good match.
Update, November 7th
I beat PZ to it! Yay me! He had a better post title though.
I also had an icky thought. My last employer constantly needed fresh peripheral blood for lab testing. They would take this (on a voluntary basis obviously!) from employees in return for 40 bucks and a funky cartoon character band aid. This C'elle company presumably also tests samples in their labs. Do they take samples from their employees too? It was weird enough having my colleagues stick needles in me. I hope they give them more than $40.