GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – In an effort to live a long and healthy life, some adults are now taking out a different kind of insurance policy. They are banking their stem cells for future use.
CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh watched one man go through the process. It’s relatively simple but it can set a person back several thousand dollars. Still, one retired engineer believes it is worth the investment.
“I am just a 54-year-old who’s trying to figure out how to get the most out of life,” Matt Rockwell said. “We’re told that we can live, at least machinery wise, we can live to 120. I’d like my 120.”
In fact, Rockwell is banking on that. In his doctor’s office in Golden, he is saving cells. Five vials of blood were collected. Then, Dr. Terry Grossman took a small sample of Rockwell’s skin cells.
Grossman practices nutritional and anti-aging medicine and has written three books about longevity.
“Right now, stem cell therapies are in their infancy,” Grossman said.
But Grossman believes the possibilities are endless.
“What’s going to be available in 10 to 20 years, it boggles the imagination,” he said.
So Grossman collects stem cells for patients and sends them away to be grown and cryopreserved. The belief is they may later be used to treat various diseases or conditions.
“Animals are having wonderful results and we are able to create, for instance, rat hearts and mouse hearts; and we are able to grow new cartilage for race horses,” Grossman said.
Rockwell was sold. He says his cells will never be younger. To him, $3,000 up front and a few hundred dollars a year is a bargain.
“I think this is the best insurance policy essentially I could buy today to ensure future health,” Rockwell said.
Some argue stem cell banking is just companies cashing in on the excitement surrounding stem cells. They say it’s not clear how useful they will be. But Rockwell says he couldn’t have dreamed of what a cellphone has become. He wants to be ready for what will be available in medicine when he turns 74.