Innovating with Integrity: Redefining the Biobanking Standard

8 Min. Read | March 6, 2020

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

As the FDA seeks to regulate developers of unsafe stem cell clinics and crack down on “bad actors,” many clinics continue to victimize hopeful patients seeking cures for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain and more. Simultaneously, consumer backlash over how companies use genetic data continues to prompt more state regulatory action against Direct to Consumer (DTC) testing companies. These ethical and legal clashes are all too common as industries chart new territory, but they can be particularly devastating when dealing with emerging medical services. In the pursuit of innovation and business success, we must not lose sight of what’s most important: people’s health and safety.  

While GoodCell is spurred on by exciting new research in support of cellular therapy and inspired by the belief that you should be empowered to take control of your health, we’re also deeply focused on the science and steadfast in our commitment to honesty and transparency. When considering storing your biological materials, evaluate the biobank you use with a critical eye. It should, in no uncertain terms, state that it will keep your data and samples secure – and fully within your control.  

Why we’re science backed  

GoodCell is led by a founding team of scientific advisors with a diverse set of medical research and clinical expertise. These advisors hail from some of the world’s preeminent research and medical institutes, including Stanford School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Their research ranges from stem cell transplantation to human genetics and genomics, to iPS cells, to accelerating drug discovery and screening.   

Among the world’s top scientists leading innovation in stem cell research is Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012 for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent, iPS cells. Two of the foremost experts applying Dr. Yamanaka’s breakthrough discovery with iPS cells – Dr. Joseph Wu, PhD, Director, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute; and Dr. Kevin Eggan, PhD, a Principal Investigator, Harvard Stem Cell Institute – serve on our Scientific Advisory Board and are working to apply these advancements in the field of regenerative medicine. 

In addition to Drs. Wu and Eggan, our Scientific Advisory Board members include: 

  • David Scadden, MD, Co-founder and Chair of GoodCell’s Scientific Advisory Board, Co-founder of Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Professor, Harvard Medical School; 
  • Steve McCarroll, PhD, Director of Genetics for the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, Professor, Harvard Medical School; and 
  • Jerome Ritz, MD, Executive Director of the Connell-O’Reilly Cell Manipulation Core Facility, Executive Committee Member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Professor, Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Cancer Vaccine Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  

These advisors aren’t just figure heads. They are deeply involved in our product and instrumental to the science promoted in our offerings. They’re established in their own fields and keep us honest as we fulfill our vision. 

How we operate with integrity 

At a time when breaches and compromised data have become commonplace, you demand reassurance of your security and the balance of personalization with privacy. In general, we recognize people are still reticent to share their health data. In fact, research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business revealed that 93 percent of all Americans would be unwilling to share their medical information with technology companies. Building trust through transparent, personal biobanking collection and storage practices is critical to us.  

This is where our technical leadership comes in. At the end of 2019, we secured funding to continue expanding operations and strengthen our expertise around data and security. One of our first steps was welcoming Anthony Bay, former Global Head of Digital Video for Amazon and a veteran senior executive at other technology powerhouses, including Apple and Microsoft, to our board of directors. Bay brings a wealth of knowledge from technology leaders at the forefront of data privacy, which is instrumental to our growth as we blend the best of health and technology to create truly unprecedented offerings for members.  

Ultimately, this all goes toward our brand promise: Staying in lock step with the industry – every industry. We’re committed to keeping pace with digital and physical privacy protocols and technologies; just as we remain committed to staying on the cutting edge of scientific discovery and harnessing it for the betterment of our members.  

You expect the best from your healthcare partners, and that’s why GoodCell operates with the highest degrees of integrity over your stored samples and health data. We process and store samples in a state-of-the-art, FDA-registered, CLIA/CAP-certified laboratory and biorepository that is trusted by many large biotech companies, as well as by public organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. A critical aspect to compliance is knowing the biorepository sites are secured and monitored, guaranteeing your biological data belongs to you and that it is fully encrypted in a secure database. Your data will never be shared without consent. 

As a GoodCell member, you own your biological materials (cells, DNA and blood plasma) deposited in your personal biobank. This ownership also applies to the GoodCell Dashboard. Our members fully control access to their information (i.e., family members, physicians, etc. will require consent) and users can elect not to be make them privy to certain results. 

Want to learn more about how integrity guides our process? 

We recognize that you want control over your health and future – to understand and track risk, and then act. We also realize and appreciate what it means to share your genetic data – literally who you are – with anyone. We want to show you that the decision to share it with us was a good one. We pledge to uphold your trust every day by providing you with access, convenience and control, while upholding the highest standards of quality marked by science and integrity.  

If you’d like to learn more, contact one of our representatives today, and we’ll make sure all your questions get answered.