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Biotechnology's Latest Trend: DIY Biology

The Quest for Optimal Health

You've probably heard of hackers that break into computers and smartphones and steal your personal information, but did you know that there is a new group on the rise that is sweeping up the field of biotechnology? They are known as the "biohackers". Despite its association with the term "hacking", biohacking is not about breaking into systems or stealing information. Instead, it is driven by a community of self-taught individuals pushing the boundaries of biotechnology beyond the traditions. With the advancement of low-cost genetic testing and consumer-grade biotechnology products on the market now, biohacking is becoming more accessible to the general public and is poised to revolutionize the way we approach personal health and wellness.

Biohacking refers to the process of using science, biology and technology to better optimize one's physical and mental health. It include variety of techniques from diet and supplements to implantation of technology.
Biohacking refers to the process of using science, biology and technology to better optimize one's physical and mental health. It include variety of techniques from diet and supplements to implantation of technology.

Biohackers are individuals who engage in biohacking practices and are drawn together by common devotion to improving health, longevity, and performance through a seemingly infinite series of lifestyle enhancements, or “biology hacks.”

These are people who, above all else, desire to work, play, live, and laugh with optimal vitality, whether that means achieving peak performance in their 20s and 30s or continuing to do so well into their later years. The biohacking community welcomes members from a wide array of backgrounds. Some biohackers began as a quest to recover from illness or injury. A fringe component pursues transhumanism, or the idea that the future of mankind lies beyond our current biology (think “cyborgs”), but many educational websites caution against this. Biohackers are often open-minded, intelligent, and highly creative individuals, recognizing the potential in new technologies long before these tools are widely accepted or available.

This biohacker's prosthetic arm is also a form of biohacking.
Prosthetic limb and body parts are a form of biohacking.

Also known as Do-it-Yourself Biology, biohacking is a broad concept that encompasses new technologies and common lifestyle habits in equal parts; all of these practices aim to achieve the same goal—reaching optimal performance previously inaccessible due to the natural limitations of the human body. Basic habits such as drinking caffeine to stimulate the release of adrenaline can be considered a biohacking technique, along with the adoption of new diets or eating patterns, such as eating plant-based or intermittent fasting. Additionally, biohacking practices are notable for their intentionality. A quick online search turns up dozens of articles in which biohackers explain their objective simply as “taking control of their health and their bodies.”

Besides investments of time and energy, some practices demand generous funds. Currently taking headlines is Bryan Johnson, 45, a middle-aged software developer worth nine figures, who is making waves in the biohacking community. He spends about $2 million annually biohacking his body to get back the body he had when he was 18 years old. Johnson must adhere to a rigid lifestyle known as "Project Blueprint," which includes a 1,977-calorie-per-day vegan diet, high intensity workouts three times per week, and blue light-blocking glasses every night before sleep. His desire to "pursue eternal youth was driven by a significant fall in his mental and physical health before he sold Braintree to eBay," he said on Bloomberg News.

A diet is a way to enhancing your biology by controlling what your eat in order to achieve a desired goal, such as losing weight, gaining weight, or improving overall health.
A diet is a way to enhance your biology by controlling what your eat in order to achieve a desired goal, such as losing weight, gaining weight, or improving overall health.

Educational websites and conferences devoted to biohacking often include overviews of ground-breaking genomics, neurobiological advancements, and cutting-edge biotechnology. Where, then, do biotechnologies like cell therapy fit, with its capacity to both prevent and reverse degenerative processes?

“Today, cell therapies are thought of as regenerative solutions to disease and illness, and technologies and access laws are developed as such,” explains Donna Chang, CEO of Hope Biosciences®, LLC, headquartered near Houston in Sugar Land Texas. “Here at Hope, the cells we make are actively being studied for the treatment of chronic disease and injury; however the dividing line between treatment and prevention remains obscure. Diseases and chronic illnesses do not simply appear in the body overnight; they develop over time, often without outward signs or symptoms. So then, is treating before symptoms considered prevention or treatment? Whatever you call it, we are committed to finding effective ways to treat degeneration and we believe it must be tackled sooner than later. It’s our long term vision that we will all have access to our own stem cells for therapeutic and preventative purposes, right here in the United States.”

Hope Biosciences's Lab Manufacturing Team
Hope Biosciences's Stem Cell Culturists in the lab.

Hope Biosciences® occupies a unique position in the regenerative medicine space, noteworthy both for patented cell culture methods and its effectiveness getting cells to patients through robust collaboration with academic and clinical research organizations. Founded in 2016, the company banks pure mesenchymal stem cells harvested from adult fat or from a newborn’s placenta. How stem cells are preserved, nourished, and grown influences whether those cells can be effectively used when patients need them. A patented process allows Hope Bio’s cell culturists to generate more than 1,000 doses of fresh, pure, undifferentiated cell therapy treatments for each client, exponentially more than any individual can be projected to use in a lifetime. The volume of cells is important because Hope Bio’s research shows that repeated treatments are needed over time to prevent or treat chronic disease or injury. Hope Bio’s technology also creates a five-day cell viability window, unprecedented in fresh stem cell products, which means Hope Biosciences® can confidently ship stem cells throughout the continental United States.

 Stem cells being prepared for intravenous infusion by Sherry, RN of HBRF
Stem cells being prepared for intravenous infusion by Sherry, RN of Hope Biosciences Stem Cell Research Foundation (HBSCRF)

Reading about this work causes biohackers to nod—it is not difficult to find articles and stories touting cell therapy as the ideal anti-aging tool. It’s a reaction Chang and her team are familiar with. Though the stem cells cultured at Hope Biosciences® are primarily pressed into service through FDA-authorized clinical research, the company does offer private stem cell banking services. They are the only company in the U.S., in fact, to offer clinical-grade stem cell banking to both newborns and adults.

Infusion room at HBSCRF in Sugar Land, Texas
Infusion room at HBSCRF in Sugar Land, Texas

“Much of what we do, and the level of consciousness with which we do it, is biohacking,” continues Chang, “adult cell therapy is the ideal biotechnology for preventative health because it is effective, custom medicine that can be scaled to be widely available to Americans.

“Cell therapy does not modify existing biology, nor does cell therapy strive to infinitely extend life, two common areas of ethical debate in the biohacking community and outside of it,” says Donna Chang,

“Our patented technology simply gives your body something it made plenty of in your youth, exactly as your body made it, in a way your body recognizes.”

“We look forward to the day when regulations catch up with the rate of technological development in cell therapy,” Chang concludes, “and processes like ours are able to fully, permanently change the landscape of healthcare in America.”


Call us at (832) 975–8840 to talk to our team about banking options for adults, newborns, and companies.

Recently, Hope Biosciences brought their stem cell research to the skincare industry with the release of Wonderstem® conditioned media, a nutrient-rich liquid containing human growth factors and proteins secreted by undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells during the cell culture process.

“Powered by our proprietary cell culture process, each undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cell secretes various growth factors, cytokines, and proteins throughout the culture period, creating the conditioned media we call Wonderstem®.”

Wonderstem® is a powerful active ingredient typically used for topical applications and cosmetic development. In January of 2022, Chang announced the release of Wondercell® gel, a shelf-stable topical serum with the highest concentrations of Wonderstem® on the market. Wonderstem's growth factors have been found to enhance the regeneration of damaged tissue and promote the synthesis of elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid, making it the perfect product to biohack aging skin.



 

About Hope Biosciences Hope Biosciences is a biopharmaceutical company developing adult stem cell therapeutics for a variety of clinical indications, and the only clinical grade adult stem cell banking facility in the nation serving both adults and newborns. Hope Biosciences occupies a unique position in the regenerative medicine space, noteworthy both for patented cell culture methods and effectiveness getting cells to patients through robust collaboration with academic and clinical research organizations. Hope Bio’s proprietary cell culturing process makes Hope Biosciences the gold standard in producing high volume, consistent, repeatable mesenchymal stem cells for clinical purposes, and Hope Biosciences actively partners with organizations and teams in need of cellular products for in vitro, preclinical, and clinical projects.

Learn more about Hope Biosciences at www.hope.bio.



About the Hope Biosciences Research Foundation

Hope Biosciences Research Foundation (HBRF) is on a mission to unlock the potential of regenerative medicine, bringing new hope to patients by dramatically accelerating research. A non-profit 501 (c)3 organization headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas (Houston area) and founded in 2020, we work primarily with chronic conditions, many of which our patients have been told are “incurable.” HBRF is closing gaps in research and care by not only facilitating healing for patients but developing sustainable solutions with the potential to right our currently crippled healthcare system.

Learn more about Hope Biosciences at www.hopebio.org.


 

Terminology Notes

Biohacking

Also known as do-it-yourself biology, this lifestyle aims to enhance performance and optimize health through strategic interventions that augment individuals’ natural biological state

Biotechnology

A field of science that fuses engineering and technology with the life sciences

Degenerative

Describes a disease in which the function or structure of the affected tissues or organs changes for the worse over time

Intermittent fasting

An eating pattern where one limits their food consumption to certain hours of the day

Master Cell Bank

A vial of cryopreserved mesenchymal stem cells of a individual banked at Hope Biosciences®; each vial is designed to produce a lifetime of cellular therapeutic treatments for future use

Mesenchymal Stem Cell

A type of adult stem cell found amongst fat cells that has the ability to differentiate into a variety of cell types, such as osteocytes (bone), chondrocytes (cartilage), myocytes (muscle), tenocytes (tendons/ligaments), endothelial (blood vessels), and neural cells (neurons)

Neurobiological

Describes diseases that affect the brain and the central and autonomic nervous systems

Prosthetic

An artificial device to replace or augment a missing or impaired part of the body

Transhumanism

The belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations

Wonderstem®

A nutrient-rich liquid containing human growth factors and proteins secreted by undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells




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