May 26, 2024


 As American baby boomers move into their 60s, many are taking out "bioinsurance policies" in the form of frozen stem cell samples. It is being called the next big thing in consumer health marketing. Already more than 20 companies store umbilical cord blood. One stores stem cells from circulating blood and another opened recently which extracts stem cells from the soft pulp in children’s baby teeth. A company called Cytori Therapeutics is planning to open a bank for fat stem cells harvested from liposuction procedures.

However exciting the potential of these procedures may be, they are still unproven and clients are risking their investment. "Heads are spinning right now," says Dr Marc Hendrick, the president of Cytori. "I’m bullish on [stem-cell banking] long term. But as a practical matter, either doctors or patients will need better proof of therapeutic use before a big market will develop." , "even those who are enthusiastic about the potential of adult stem cells say they’re dismayed by the pace at which the marketplace is running ahead of the science."