GoodCell FAQs

At GoodCell, we’re here for you. To support and guide you through our process every step of the way. We know you’ll have questions—and we’ve got answers.

Of course, you can still call us and speak with one of our Member Relationship Managers who can answer any specific questions you may have. Call us at 800772-0593, or email us at support@goodcell.com.

Topics covered in this FAQ:

Process & Testing

  • You will create and register your GoodCell Account. You will then be paired with a dedicated Member Relationship Manager (MRM) who will assist you along every step.   
  • You will need to order your GoodCell Kit and begin your subscription.  
  • The MRM will register and send out your GoodCell Kit to you, as well as order the necessary testing included with your GoodCell Membership.   
  • Once you have received your Kit, you will be instructed to make an appointment at your nearest Quest Patient Service Center and have your blood drawn by the Quest phlebotomists.   
  • After your appointment, Quest and GoodCell will process your sample and run extensive testing. Your MRM will be in regular contact to inform you when your results are available. 

For most areas in the United States, the cost of testing is included in your enrollment and annual fee.  The includes included are the Inherited Predisposition Test and the annual Baseline Health Panel. 

Note: Residents of NY, NJ, and RI must submit the Baseline Health Panel, performed by Quest Diagnostics, through their insurance or pay for testing with a credit card (separately).  

These states have laws that prohibit Quest Diagnostics from billing GoodCell for laboratory testing.  

You will have the opportunity to submit your insurance information when you schedule your appointment at a Quest Patient Service Center or when you go for your blood collection. Please inform the technician that you would like to use your personal insurance.  

The GoodCell Baseline Health Panel is a curated set of tests that evaluates multiple physiological systems.   The four tests are as follows: 

  1. Lipid test – measures typical markers of atherosclerosis to assess risk for heart attack, stroke and chronic kidney disease
  2. Vitamin D test – assesses your risk of rickets and osteoporosis, along with the hormonal effects of vitamin D on immunity, body weight, mental health and cancer risk
  3. Hemoglobin A1c test – provides snapshot of blood sugar control over the past three months to screen for undiagnosed prediabetes and diabetes
  4. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein test (hs-CRP) – identifies your levels of a critical plasma marker for low-grade inflammation that contributes to body fat regulation, heart disease and the body’s response to stressors (like infections) 

The ACMG59 is a test included in the GoodCell Kit as part of our Inherited Genetic Predisposition Test. The specific genes we test have been selected by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), a professional society made up of Genetics health professionals and experts. These genes were chosen because we know that variants in these genes can lead to disease or increase the risk for disease. These diseases are actionable, which simply means there are recommended actions you can take to minimize the impact on your health. The ACMG regularly updates this list, in keeping with the latest clinical research. 

GoodCell genetic and health testing is FSA/HSA eligible. If you would like to utilize your FSA/HSA, the Initiation/Membership fee covers the cost of the ACMG59 genetic test that screens for 31 predispositions across cardiovascular, oncology and metabolic disorders. 

This Annual fee (valued at $249) covers GoodCell’s curated Baseline Health Panel which screens for abnormal lipids, insulin resistance and vitamin D insufficiency.   

The Baseline Health Panel should be repeated every year to ensure early detection of underlying health concerns. The $249 annual fee is an eligible expense, along with the added benefit of ongoing biomaterial storage. When using HSA/FSA, Biobanking is included in the service at no additional charge. 

GoodCell is available to help members determine what their insurance plan will cover regarding our testing. We do not provide insurance companies access to your results by default. However, some insurance companies may request to view your test results if they pay for your service. If you do not want to give your insurance company the ability to see your results, you will need to pay outside of insurance.  

Your Blood Draw

You can schedule an appointment at any Quest Patient Service Center once you have received your GoodCell Kit. Click here to find a convenient location near you: https://appointment.questdiagnostics.com/patient/confirmation 

If you are unable to get to a Quest Patient Service Center, we can send a certified phlebotomist who will draw your blood in the comfort of your home or office.  

Note: The Baseline Health Panel (BHP) can only be collected at a Quest Patient Service Center. If this is not convenient for you, we can schedule a home collection for the GoodCell Kit and ACMG59. You can then go at a later date to a Quest Patient Service Center for the BHP. 

You will need to fast for 12 hours before your blood draw to receive the most accurate results for your Lipid Panel. Try to get a good night’s sleep before your test. The amount of blood drawn is minimal, so fainting, lightheadedness and nausea are unlikely. Tell your blood draw technician if you have had issues with blood draws in the past. 

When going for your blood draw, you must bring the GoodCell Kit, the documents included with the Kit, and a state-issued ID. The Kit contains instructions and equipment that the phlebotomist will need to complete the Kit. The additional documents with the Kit include Test Requisition Forms, which Quest will use to inform the phlebotomist of the testing that is required. Finally, Quest will require a valid state-issued ID to verify your identity before moving forward with the blood draw. 

The risks associated with blood draws are extremely minor. You may experience slight bruising, discomfort or inflammation after the draw. 

You can cancel or reschedule your Quest PSC appointment online by following this link: https://appointment.questdiagnostics.com/patient/confirmation. 

If you need assistance in rescheduling, you can call GoodCell Support at 800-772-0593. 

No need to worry! Even in the highly unlikely event that we are unable to collect enough blood to fill the vials, we will still process and store your sample. Then, if needed, we will get in touch with you to schedule an additional blood draw, so you can take full advantage of everything GoodCell has to offer. 

Why Now?

As we age, so do our cells. Cells can make mistakes when they copy DNA, and not all mistakes get fixed.  

Outside forces, like UV radiation, can also damage our cells over time. When this happens, our bodies continue to reproduce weakened cells with mistakes embedded in their genetic codes. That is why older cells are not always as equipped to correct DNA damage, generate new cells, produce energy, and fight disease. These genetic mistakes (or mutations) accumulate more rapidly as our cells age. Aging is a critical issue for stem cells, which are tasked with repairing damage throughout the body. 

The best cells you will ever have are the ones you have right now. Storing them means you can use your younger, healthier cells instead of your older, weaker ones when it comes time to fight off future diseases. Biobanking with GoodCell might give you an upper hand against cancer, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, heart disease, and a host of other medical conditions. 

Read more about the effects of damage on stem cells, changes in stem cell function based on age, and how damage to cells affects aging to help you make an educated decision to protect your health. 

Cell Storage?

Our bioprocessing laboratory and storage facility is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified, ensuring proper handling and secure storage of your biological samples for years to come. Temperature-regulated storage devices (including 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. 

If you ever need to use your sample, we will 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 as needed.  

Upon your request and consent and working with your physician or a clinical researcher, we will transfer your cells to the identified facility, or an FDA-approved storage facility.  

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. 

No. If you need your sample, we will retrieve it for free. You will only be responsible for costs associated with transporting the biological material to the approved medical facility. 

Your storage fee is covered by your annual subscription. 

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. 

Once your cells are cryopreserved, we keep them at a tightly regulated temperature for indefinite storage, 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 in storage. Read more about: longevity of cryogenically preserved biological samples 

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 specific 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. 

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. 

Stem cells have successfully helped treat a wide range of medical conditions for over 50 years. Specifically, hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), also known as blood stem cells, are a powerful tool for replenishing diseased blood systems and even curing blood diseases. HPC transplants are a common and effective treatment 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 for orthopedic injuries. An abundance of active international research aims to develop stem cell therapies to treat cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, heart disease, and many other conditions. 

When used 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 research is growing steadily. 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 concern. However, that is not the case — at least not yet. GoodCell never condones, promotes or engages in stem cell therapies until they have undergone several years of clinical investigation.  

We believe that in the future, maybe even the near future, stem cells will offer superior treatment for various diseases and conditions. Since medical research is ongoing, it is imperative that anybody considering a stem cell treatment understands exactly what they are getting. 

All our partners who handle your blood are CLIA/CAP certified medical clinical laboratories that comply with HIPAA. For more information on HIPAA compliance https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html 

Our laboratory testing and material storage is for medical purposes and is not used for research unless you specifically consent to be involved in research. 

Our bioprocessing laboratory and storage facility is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified, ensuring proper handling and secure storage of your biological samples for years to come. Temperature regulated storage devices are individually alarmed, monitored around the clock, and backed up by onsite electrical generators. The facility we use houses millions of samples and is trusted by the National Institutes of Health, as well as the largest pharmaceutical companies in the United States. 

You will always have the option to have your materials (cells, DNA and plasma) destroyed at any time. The benefits of storing your DNA, plasma and cells are detailed at length on our website here https://GoodCell.com/what-is-GoodCell/. In addition to our current test offerings, storing your DNA with GoodCell now will allow you to partake of future tests as soon as they are validated. 

Your Results

We process and store your sample in our state of the art, CLIA/CAP certified lab and biorepository. This biorepository houses millions of samples and is trusted by large pharmaceutical 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.  

The first step to receiving your Genetic Testing is to have your GoodCell Kit collected. Once your collection is complete, Quest’s technicians will package your sample and ship it to our laboratory for the cells, DNA, and plasma to be extracted.  The DNA will be sent to our genetics laboratory, where we will run the necessary tests. 

Our medical and genetic counseling team have access to your results to help support you and guide you on how you can talk to your physician for medical advice.

Your Member Relationship Manager supports both you and our medical team. They have access to your results under certain circumstances, such as supporting you in answering questions, connecting you with someone from our medical team or genetic counselor, or contacting you based on a request from our medical team.

The rest is up to you - your data is your data!

Genetic Counselors are certified industry professionals who are well versed in the genetic testing that GoodCell performs. Our Genetic Counselors are a valuable resource for all our members that wish to discuss the results of their genetic testing. Once your GoodCell Kit has been completed and your results are uploaded to your personal Dashboard, you will be able to contact one of our Genetic Counselors to schedule a 1-on-1 meeting regarding your results. 

Privacy & Security

We collect the information we need to provide a high-quality customer experience, including the information below.  
Personal information, such as:  

  • Name  
  • 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 results  
  • Other health information provided by you  

Web behavior data, such as:  

  • Browser data  
  • Device information  
  • IP address  

We take great care to use technical, administrative and physical safeguards to secure your personal information and protect it against misuse, loss or alteration. Your information is processed and stored with restricted access. 

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.

We use your identifiable data to provide our services to you. Please see the “How does GoodCell protect your information section above for details on how we keep your identifiable data secure.

Good Cell willneversell or lease/rent your identifiable data to any third party (including academic researchers) without your explicit consent.  

That said, there are a few specific instances in which we do we share information with others to provide you with our services, including:  

  • Our laboratory partners 
  • A company that processes payments (and is contractually obligated to protect your privacy and security)  
  • Legal guardians or personal representatives (if applicable)  
  • Healthcare Providers you authorized 

In addition, there may be special circumstances in which 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  
  • As otherwise required by applicable law  

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:  

  • Name  
  • 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  
  • URLs  
  • 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  

Good Cell removes all the identifiers listed above.  

Once all these identifiers are removed and precautions are taken, we believe that the de-identified data cannot reasonably be traced to you or used to identify you or your medical information as an individual.  

We share de-identified data in specific ways that help advance medical care and the clinical practice. 

Sharing de-identified data helps to accelerate medical research and is an essential component of improving identification, treatments, medications and therapies.  

In addition to customers owning and controlling their genetic data, GoodCell also believes that your de-identified 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 and find new therapies. 

You can contact your Member Relationship Manager or GoodCell Support to inform them of your data-sharing preferences. You can contact GoodCell Support at 800-772-0593 or by emailing support@goodcell.com. 

Biology 101

Deoxyribonucleic Acid, more commonly known as DNA, is the material that carries instructions, in the form of genes, for growth, development, functioning and reproduction in nearly all living organisms. DNA is a long double-stranded molecule, shaped like a twisted ladder, or double helix. DNA is made up of a sequence of four nucleotides (also called bases): adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G) that pair with each other in a specific way. The human genome consists of 3 billion base pairs of DNA.    

Blood plasma is a fluid that makes up a little more than half of our blood’s total volume. Plasma is the reason our blood is a liquid. Plasma is not a type of blood cell, nor does it contain any cells. Rather, it is composed of about 92% water, as well as certain proteins, nucleic acids, salts, cellular waste, nutrients and gases, some of which are important biomarkers that can indicate health status and disease. 

Stem cells can develop into different types of specialized cells meant to carry out unique functions. They are found throughout the body, in a wide range of organs and tissues. Your body uses stem cells to fight infections, repair damage and even rebuild broken-down tissue. There are four general types of stem cells: embryonic, tissue-specific, mesenchymal and induced pluripotent. 

Here at GoodCell, we are most interested in tissue-specific stem cells (especially those found in blood) and induced pluripotent stem cells, or IPS cells. IPS cells can be programmed to produce virtually any cell type in the human body — blood cells, brain cells, pancreas cells, heart cells, and more. This gives them amazing potential to help treat many diseases, including certain forms of age-related blindness, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease. 

Read more about: quality of iPS cells based on age, how iPS cells are derived, quality of iPS cells derived from skin vs. other sources. 

 

HPCs, also known simply as blood stem cells, can transform into any of the three main types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. They are found in bone marrow, cord blood and peripheral blood.  

For decades, doctors and researchers have known that blood stem cell transplants are effective in treating dozens of diseases, such as: 

  • Bloodborne cancers (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma) 
  • Autoimmune disorders (e.g., SCID, adenosine deaminase deficiency) 
  • Metabolic disorders (e.g., Gaucher disease, Niemann-Pick disease) 
  • Non-malignant blood disorders (e.g., polycythemia vera, sickle cell anemia) 

Please note that the HPCs contained within GoodCell samples are currently of insufficient quantity for blood stem cell transplants. However, our capacity to expand the number of cells in the laboratory increases every year. At least two companies have already developed methods that could make the current number of stored cells sufficient, but more testing is needed. It is likely in the near future that we will be able to use the amount of blood stem cells in your sample to create enough cells for a transplant. 

Read more about: research on using smaller numbers of stem cells for therapies 

Stem cells are our body’s first resource for repairing damaged tissue. There is a lot we can learn from our stem cells, including how much damage they have sustained.  

Damage to stem cells — or any cells — typically comes from one of two places: External sources, such as ultraviolet radiation (a leading cause of melanoma), or minor mistakes in DNA sequencing during cell division. When a cell divides, it must copy its DNA, so the new cell functions properly. This process happens millions of times every day, and occasionally, mistakes occur. Normally, our cells catch mistakes and destroy the damaged cell. But sometimes, mistakes go unnoticed and are copied to future cells. 

The more accumulated damage that cells have, the less capable they may be at fighting disease. We will estimate the quality of your stored stem cells to give you a better idea of where you stand. 

Read more about: effects of damage on stem cells, changes in stem cell function based on age, how damage to cells affects aging. 

With our DNA testing, we offer screening for inherited predispositions to a variety of diseases and health conditions. Our current test analyzes 59 genes associated with medically important conditions, including those designated first tier conditions by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Office of Public Health Genomics:  

  • familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) 
  • hereditary breast and ovarian cancer 
  • Lynch syndrome (a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome)

Our test can also identify risk for other types of heart disease, other hereditary cancer syndromes, and more. These conditions are all considered actionable, because there are effective interventions available to reduce the risks to health and improve quality of life, especially when diagnosed early. 

We are constantly expanding our range of genetic screening services, so be sure to check back often.   

Read more about: genetic predispositions, genetic variantshereditary breast cancerfamilial hypercholesterolemia , and the CDC's Tier 1 genetic conditions 

Blood plasma contains markers that can offer insight on 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 other key tests— just as your doctor would. 

Read more about: links between certain blood test results and mortality. 

 

 

 

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