Create a back-up copy of your immune system

June 23, 2007

clipped from www.newscientist.com

Imagine having a spare copy of your immune system on ice, ready to replace your existing one should you fall victim to AIDS, an autoimmune disease, or have to undergo extensive chemotherapy for cancer.

An Anglo-American company called Lifeforce has received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to do just that. The firm collects 480-millilitre samples of blood from healthy individuals, extracts the white blood cells and stores them as an insurance policy against future disease. The service comes at a price, though: around $800 for taking the initial sample then $25 per month for storing the cells at -196 °C. “That sample would have the complete repertoire of all your white blood cells,” says Del DelaRonde, co-founder of Lifeforce in Newport, UK.

“Whole new armies of white blood cells could be grown in the lab and reinfused into the patient”

Last month, Lifeforce also won permission to expand its UK operations.

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