A British company has launched a new service that offers healthy people the chance to freeze and store their stem cells up to 20 years for use in future treatments for illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's.
The service that extracts stem cells from adult blood has been given approval for the first time by the regulatory body the Human Tissue Authority.
AdvertisementNow, anyone can pay to store them in the hope that they will one day help in curing fatal conditions, reports the Daily Mail.
Until now, it has only been possible to bank stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood and embryos left over from fertility treatment.
The new system involves a nurse visiting a 'client' at home and taking two egg-cups of blood by syringe, as in a simple blood test.
Glasgow-based company Pharmacells charges 2,495 pounds - equivalent to the cost of storing umbilical cord blood. Another package means paying 1,695 pounds upfront, followed by 199 pounds-a-year for storage.
The cells are stored at -80 degree Celsius for up to 20 years. The advantage of banking your cells is that your immune system will not react against them.
It is also most effective to use cells, which are younger and healthier, because ideally they should be frozen before illness and age set in.
Scientists believe stem cells hold the key to developing cures for a huge range of fatal conditions.
They have regenerative properties because they have the ability to turn into any kind of cell in tissue, organs, nerves or bone.
The latest method produces stem cells, which are at a very early stage of development, meaning they have the ability to turn into any kind of cell in the body.
"Of course, we can't make any promises. But stem cells we bank will be viable for clinical use when they are defrosted, which gives people real hope," said Pharmacells chief executive Athol Haas.