Start-up company preserving young adults’ stem cells to fight future disease

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A start-up company has begun extracting and storing stem cells from young adults in an effort to combat age-related illnesses such as arthritis and heart disease.

Li Jiang, 30, a former investment banker who worked in the health sector, is an early investor in Forever Labs, as well as an early tester. Realizing that living longer is not just dependent on eating healthy food and exercising regularly, Jiang cryogenically froze his stem cells in May, hoping that he will someday have them injected back into his body.

Forever Labs, which has the ambitious mission to counter “aging itself,” is a product of the start-up accelerator program Y Combinator and has raised $2 million in funding to expand its service.

Forever Labs offers the stem cell extraction procedure and lifetime storage for $7,000, CNBC reported.

Jiang sees the price as a life extension plan.

“If you are able to extend your life by even five years, I mean, I think you would pay something to do that,” he said.

Although the idea might be catching on, physicians and scientists are still researching how frozen stem cells might be used in the future, and if it is worth the cost.

Agnieszka Czechowicz, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford focusing on stem cell transplantation, noted that regulators would have to approve any therapies that would utilize the samples, and there is a risk that extracted samples might not be large enough to be effective. There is also uncertainty regarding the disposition of the stem cells should Forever Labs fail.

Even so, Czechowicz said that she is excited about the prospects and “the evolving research that may open opportunities to use such cells.”

According to Forever Labs CEO Steven Clausnitzer, who founded the company in 2015, most of the early adopters of stem cell extraction and storage are tech workers from the San Francisco Bay Area. The company noted that it has performed dozens of stem cell extractions, but declined to provide a specific number.

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