Adult stem cells for sale!

Since I’m making a Science Groupie post, you might be wondering if I have anything to say about the new synthetic bacteria breakthrough by J. Craig Venter. Of course I do. It mostly consists of “HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT’S SO AWESOME THE FUTURE IS NOW!!!” So, yeah, there’s that.

I’ll leave the commentary on that to more qualified voices. Not that anyone seems to need to know what they’re talking about before they pontificate about creating monsters in petri dishes, but nonetheless, I just don’t have much to add to the discussion.

In other science-related news, we have Mademoicell, the new design by Chelsea Briganti for women to use for harvesting menstrual blood. So why would anyone want to do that, you ask? Isn’t that shit supposed to get flushed down the toilet and away from decent people?

“The stem cells found in menstrual blood possess embyronic stem cell markers, which means that they can differentiate between nine different types of cells,” the designer Briganti says.

Hear that, everyone? MENSTRUAL BLOOD CONTAINS USEFUL STEM CELLS! Which means the monthly offering from Aunt Flow has tremendous scientific potential. Briganti’s product isn’t really new: we already have Célle, a service that stores women’s monthly discharge for potential future clinical use. Also, we’ve had menstrual cups available from various companies for years, and I don’t see any reason why I can’t just empty my Keeper into a Zip-Loc bag for cryo-preservation.

Célle sounds like a huge racket, though. Not that there isn’t legitimate potential in their service, but when you combine the fact that their business model is “every client for herself (and perhaps her immediate family)” with the fact that the value is all potential, then you don’t really need to show your clients any bang for their buck. There’s no telling how long their clients will have to keep paying $500 per year to store their “monthly miracles” before they actually get some return on their investments.

Furthermore, if menstrual stem cells are comparable to embryonic stem cells, or even a viable mid-point between embryonic cells and bone marrow, then their real usefulness to society will not be in a profit-making venture which only serves the families of those women who pay for it. Its real potential is in scientific research which yields discoveries which lead to treatments that work for everyone, not just Cryo-Cell customers.

So, I want to know: where are the scientists using menstrual stem cells in their research, and how much will they pay per ounce? They don’t even need to use any specialized equipment or retain any staff with medical training to extract the cells. Like I said, it’s just me with a Keeper and a Zip-Loc bag. I’m sure the usual suspects will find ways to vilify the endeavor, because, you know, a woman can only donate menstrual stem cells when she isn’t pregnant, but they can’t stop us from menstruating, so let ’em wring their hands. I’ve got valuable stuff in my uterus every month, folks. Where do I sign up?