Freeze your cells for use in future

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Freeze your cells for use in future

Do you have Dh221,000 to spare? If yes, you can now have a back up of your adult self for the future simply by visiting a dermatologist in the UAE.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Fri 20 Sep 2013, 12:52 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:48 PM

A French genome technology company expected to open office in Dubai by next month — pending approval by Dubai Health Authority — will be offering a breakthrough 2012 Nobel Prize-winning medical research that will literally freeze healthy cells in time.

Claiming to be the world’s first commercially available service of its kind, Sceil, which is part of the company Cellectis, takes a sample of an individual’s skin collected under local anesthesia and ‘reboots’ them into ‘Day Zero state.’

The service is based on research by Professor Shinya Yamanaka in Kyoto, Japan who discovered that you can take any cell of the body, put a cocktail of things inside and the cell then forgets the state it is in and comes back to the first stage of life, nine months before birth.

These skin cells are processed into stem cells called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) that are stored for long term potential future uses such as repairing damaged organs, rebuilding tissue or fighting disease.

The service was made available in Switzerland, the UK, the US and Singapore nearly two months ago.

In a chat with Khaleej Times, the CEO of the company Dr Andre Choulika said that individuals would be able to use their cells for their own cure as soon as regenerative medicine treatments become available in the future.

“These cells have the potentiality to give any kind of tissue of your organism. You freeze time at the second a sample is taken and the cells won’t age after this moment,” said Dr Choulika.

Stem cell applications are hailed as a major revolution in the field of regenerative medicine and are currently being used in clinical trials, especially in eye diseases (such as muscular degeneration). It is anticipated that in the near future, stem cells will have applications in a wide range of diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s), metabolic diseases (diabetes), heart failure and muscle damage.

In the long term, these revolutionary methods will allow lab growths of new lungs, liver or heart depending on what the patient needs, said Dr Choulika. According to Sceil, IPS cells can be derived from adult cells at any time of life. However, due to human cell DNA degeneration over time, Sceil recommends that interested people should give their skin samples sooner.

“The service is very simple and painless for individuals,” added Dr Choulika. “A skin tissue sample is taken under local anesthesia...the skin cells are then sent to Singapore and frozen in a laboratory at —180C until they are needed for future medical applications.” “As the procedure can be carried out by a dermatologist, we will not have a large team in Dubai at the time of launch. However, as the interest and take-up of the service grows, we expect our operations and staffing levels to develop in tandem,” added Dr Choulika.

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