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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