In a clinic in leafy Orinda,
California, Anthony, a 45-year-old
medical sales rep, lies facedown
on an examination table, a sterile
sheet draped over his bare bottom.
Orthopedic surgeon Chad Roghair
uses an ultrasound machine to
locate the posterior iliac crest of
Anthony’s pelvis, and then numbs
the area. Roghair makes a tiny
incision with a scalpel and inserts
a pencil-size tube called a trocar,
through which he drills two centimeters into Anthony’s hipbone.
Attaching a syringe, he slowly
draws out 60 milliliters of marrow.
It’s a rich, dark red. Like beet
A nurse immediately places the
vials in a container lined with dry
ice, which she will send to Ann
Arbor, Michigan, where a company
called Forever Labs will place their
contents into cryostorage.
On his feet moments later,
Anthony explains why he’s here:
Coronary artery disease runs in his
family. Should he suffer a heart attack in the future, clinical
trials currently underway suggest the stem cells in his mar-
row could help regrow heart muscle. Or maybe he’ll have a
stroke, in which case there’s equally good evidence suggesting
those same stem cells will help restore brain tissue. Of course,
Anthony could be lucky and avoid any major health problems
for 25 years. But then he may choose to have the cells, which
have the ability to turn into several types of tissue, infused
into his bloodstream as an all-purpose antiaging treatment.
All of that is what Forever Labs offers to the hundreds of
people who, like Anthony, have paid $1,500 to have their cells
extracted and are spending another $250 per year to have
them cryobanked. Consider it a down payment on a future
in which health care may be more about maintenance than
disease treatment, and aging is a condition to be managed—if
not cured outright.
Forever Labs grew out of the research of Mark
Katakowski, a doctor of medical physics who has been study-
ILLUSTRATION BY THE HEADS OF STATE ● ● ● NOVEMBER 2018 ● INC. ● 93
Your stem cells hold the cure to a host of ills—and
maybe aging itself. Forever Labs is making sure
they’ll be there when you need them.
BY JEFF BERCOVICI