Man Banks Stem Cells - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Man Banks Stem Cells

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Rod Vaage is the type of person who stays on top of his health.

"It's part of my routine check ups. I go once a year now that I'm over 50."

He wants to stay on top and ahead of medical science. And that's why he came to Dr. Rick Paulson's office in Bismarck to bank his stem cells.

"It's a blood draw and a simply biopsy. Very easy procedure," says Dr. Paulson.

After the blood and tissue samples are taken, they're sent to Next HealthCare in Grand Forks.

"They separate the stem cells from other cells and then they freeze them and put them in cold storage," says Dr. Paulson.

Vaage hopes preserving his stem cells now, when they are healthier, will pay off in the future.

"I fully envision they would be able to grow a heart or a liver in a lab," says Vaage.

That's because stem cells are your body's basic building blocks, and they have the potential to grow into different types of cells.

"Some become heart, some become muscle, and some become bone. The stem cells potentially have retained the ability to go back and revert and go back to that pathway," says Dr. Paulson.
 
With recent breakthroughs in research and surgeries, Vaage thinks banking his stem cells now is  worth the cost: $3,000 plus a yearly storage fee.

"You can leave all the money in the world you want for your children and grandchildren, but to have a program like this... to grow a heart some day, that's definitely where this thing's headed. All the money in the world can't buy something like that," says Vaage.

Vaage is banking on benefiting from medical procedures that are in clinical research phases.

"There is a little bit of a gamble associated with it. There was a lot more gamble ten years ago than there is now, and I think five years ago than there is now," says Dr. Paulson.

Both Paulson and Vaage expect regenerative medicine to take off in the next few years.

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