How to live forever

Carnegie Mellon University's NeuroBank extracts and stores neural stem cells for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)

Student grudge match Student grudge match Student grudge match
FSB co-sponsored Rice University's prestigious national competition for the first time this year. The winners took home a total of $327,000 in prize money, plus priceless bragging rights. Meet all 36 semifinalists below. Photographs by Evan Kafka for FSB.

(FSB Magazine) Houston -- Third place team: NeuroBank
What it does: Extracts and stores neural stem cells for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's
Founders: Raymond Sekula, 35, and Sasha Bakhru, 27 School: Carnegie Mellon University
Launched: September 2007

Researchers are very close to figuring out how to use neural stem cells to cure brain disorders. Imagine being able to store your healthy neural stem cells today and use them to receive cutting-edge treatments for diseases you might develop later in life - such as Alzheimer's. NeuroBank plans to make that an option, initially for those newly diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, Parkinson's, and stroke, but also for those in good health who want to preserve cells that are at their youngest and most robust. Neural stem cells, unlike embryonic stem cells, can generate cell types found in the central nervous system. But they deteriorate with age and neurological disease.

NeuroBank CEO and neuro-surgeon Raymond Sekula claims he found neural stem cells in spinal fluid. Before the discovery those cells were thought to reside mostly in the brain, from which doctors could harvest them only through a dangerous procedure that causes brain hemorrhage in 8% of patients. Neural stem cells now can be extracted through a much safer spinal tap. Sekula says he has 50 patients willing to undergo the procedure. During one business competition presentation he noted, "I've had at least a dozen healthy people in this room ask about storing their stem cells."

After extracting the cells, NeuroBank will prepare and keep them. The company, which has filed for four patents, will not develop treatments for any diseases.

Personal cellular storage already is available for human eggs, sperm, and umbilical-cord blood, so NeuroBank will be following an established business model - a factor that impressed the business plan judges. Sekula believes his company's entry into the market will be eased because the cellular storage business isn't FDA regulated. However, some judges worried that NeuroBank has not yet worked through regulatory compliance issues in areas such as patient privacy and the proper coding of the cells.

Even so, Sekula this year plans to secure $1 million in angel funding, launch a marketing campaign, and gain his first 100 customers.  To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More


Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.