GoodCell FAQ

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The Process

The GoodCell General Health Blood 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 – supports optimal functioning throughout the body. Beyond its role in preventing rickets and osteoporosis, vitamin D has hormonal effects that can impact cancer risk, immunity, body weight, and mood.

  3. Hemoglobin A1c test – gives insight into your body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin and hence risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

  4. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein test (hs-CRP) – identifies your levels of a critical plasma marker for low-grade inflammation. Hs-CRP contributes to the regulation of body fat, the development of heart disease, and the body’s response to stressors (like infections).

GoodCell genetic and health testing is FSA/HSA eligible. The one-time FSA eligible membership fee covers the cost of the ACMG59 genetic test that screens for 31 predispositions across cardiovascular, oncology and metabolic disorders/conditions. As added value members will also receive the processing of their biomaterials to prepare for storage and for extraction of their DNA to inform the genetic test.

The $249 eligible fee covers GoodCell’s health test which screens for high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, diabetes and vitamin D deficiency. This test should be repeated annually for a $249 annual fee, which is an eligible cost to identify and track the progression and/or regression of these conditions. In addition to the blood test, as added value members will also receive ongoing storage of biomaterials for potential future use if needed.

For most areas in the United States, the cost of testing is included in your annual fee.

Note: Residents of NY, NJ and RI must submit the Quest Laboratory Test through their insurance or pay for the testing with a credit card (separately).

You will have the opportunity to submit your Insurance information when you schedule your appointment at a Quest Patient Service Center or when go in for your blood collection.
You may be able to submit the expenses associated with this testing to your Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Account, Health Reimbursement Account, or similar account for reimbursement after you receive your bill from Quest Diagnostics. Please check with your health account administrator to see if these expenses are eligible for reimbursement under your plan.

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.

Goodcell does not file insurance claims. When we place your order, we enter the applicable ICD-10 codes for testing at Quest Diagnostics so that you may submit this through your insurance carrier or file for reimbursement yourself. Goodcell cannot guarantee that your claim will be reimbursed. Contact your insurance provider for your benefits and reimbursement options.

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.

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 cellschanges in stem cell function based on agehow damage to cells affects aging

Yes! We can send a certified phlebotomist who will draw your blood in your home or office or you can schedule a blood collection at your nearest Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center — whichever is convenient for you. 

When you register your Kit online, we’ll ask you to tell us where you’d like to do the draw. The only thing you need to bring to the appointment is your Kit and a picture ID. The phlebotomist will use the vials in the Kit to store your sample. When the appointment is over, usually in about fifteen minutes, the phlebotomist will take the Kit and ship it via FedEx it, under temperature control, directly to our testing and storage facility.

You can cancel or reschedule your appointment at any time by calling us at 800-772-0593. We will help you reschedule to a date and time that better meets your needs.

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

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, if needed, we’ll get in touch with you to schedule and additional blood draw so that you can take full advantage of everything GoodCell has to offer.

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.

Your Sample

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Read more about: stem cells treating bloodborne 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.

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.

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.

Your storage fee is covered by your 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.

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.

Your Results

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.

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 cellschanges in stem cell function based on agehow damage to cells affects aging.

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 predispositionsusing markers as predictors of health and mortalityAlzheimer’sbreast cancerhemochromatosis (iron overload) and mutations.

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.

Biology 101

Deoxyribonucleic Acid, more commonly known as DNA, is the material that carries instructions, or genes, for growth, development, functioning, and reproduction in nearly all living organisms. As its name suggests, it is made of nucleic acids, one of the four types of molecules essential for all known forms of life.

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

Stem cells are cells that can develop into many types of specialized cells that carry out particular functions. They’re found throughout the body, in a wide variety of organs and tissues. Your body uses stem cells to fight disease, repair damage, and even rebuild broken down tissue. There are four general types of stem cell: embryonic, tissue-specific, mesenchymal, and induced pluripotent.

Here at GoodCell, we’re most interested in tissue-specific stem cells (particularly those found within the 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 great potential as tools for treating many diseases, including certain forms of age-related blindness, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and more.

Read more about: quality of iPS cells based on agehow iPS cells are derivedquality of iPS cells derived from skin vs. other sources.

HPCs, also known simply as blood stem cells, are capable of growing into any of the three main types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. They’re found within bone marrow, cord blood, and peripheral blood. For decades, doctors and researchers have known that blood stem cell transplants are effective treatments for dozens of diseases:

  • 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 to be useful for blood stem cell transplants. However, our ability to expand the number of cells in the laboratory increases every year. At least two companies have already developed methods that seem to make the number of cells stored sufficient, but more testing is needed. It is likely that in the near future, we will be able to use the 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