The massive fervor around blockchain technology has quelled a bit due to a number of challenges facing the emerging industry ranging from speed and cost to interoperability and perception. The fact that many, more vocal blockchain devotees are working a bit more quietly through such issues now gives the chance for others to start to come to surface. Many innovators are finding new ways to apply blockchain technology and in a manner beyond solely that of the financial and advertising realms, for example. In fact when coupled with a philanthropic intent, blockchain seems now poised to reach even greater heights because the work is fused with true social benefit.
Indeed a GIOSTAR Labs, a company which is focused on stem cell-based technologies and is a subsidiary of a company called Giostar, recently joined forces with the Association of Professional Ball Players of America (APBPA) to launch what the company is calling the non-profit Stem Cells For All initiative. The intent is to provide, for the first time ever, stem cell treatment to athletes, families, fans at deep discounts, and GIOSTAR will will be one of the first to apply blockchain in a new way to ensure successful outcome.
This work is the brainchild of GIOSTAR Chairman and Co-founder Dr. Anand Srivastava. Who, along with his fellow co-founder and team realized the fact that many baseball players face injuries which require not only extensive surgery that is demanding on the body but that which can also causes severe financial stress as well. So they decided to create a pilot initiative where members of the APBPA can now receive free or deeply discounted therapies at GIOSTAR’s Chicago location, the office dedicated solely to providing stem cell services to the underserved.
But it is blockchain technology which will up the ante in the treatment process. Explains GIOSTAR Co-Founder Siddarth Bhavsar, “Federated permissioned blockchain based on HIPAA compatible nodes allows us to build trust via data integrity and permissioned collaboration from the ground up.” He continues, “Since personalized precision medicine like stem cells entails an additional level of data complexity, thus an AI and NLP algorithms layer will bring greater structure and extract meaning from the data to improve accuracy.”
So far, six pitchers have undergone therapy with additional procedures underway thanks to generous donations and successful fundraisers. These athletes include Arnie Costell of the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers and Mike Rossiter of the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers.
Now GIOSTAR says that dozens of subsidized therapies are underway as a result of their agreement with the Association. The lab will be working to release cutting edge technology in stem cell application with blockchain integration over the next 12 months enabling enabling them to decrease therapy costs, disrupt the pricing model of the industry and allow them to treat more people than the industry ever has.
GIOSTAR says that it intends to engage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) via the Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) process to ensure proper safety protocols and efficacy and plans to commercialize stem cell therapy as a service by launching a suite of shippable, stem cell-derived growth factor products.
Regenerative medicine has been called the next evolution of medical treatments by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, however the field is not without controversy and confusion about what is and is not possible in terms of cures within this emerging space. Many professionals in the arena say that the results are simply not as straightforward as purported. In fact, Consumer Reports printed an extensive investigative piece not long ago on the industry, though much of this pushback was tied to high costs for the services.
Bhavsar is undaunted and fiercely driven precisely because of the cost-disruption model. He explains, “Just as open-source software model drove exponential innovation in the technology sector, we believe open-source clinical research model powered by blockchain and AI will improve efficiency, accuracy, reduce costs and accelerate innovation in healthcare.”
Though based in San-Diego, GIOSTAR now has similar plans for such initiatives in India, China and Mexico. Dr. Srivastava already has deep ties to India through his previous invitation from the country’s Ministry of Human Resources Development to train scientists in the region in the field of advanced stem cell science.
Says Bhavsar, “Each day we are moving one step closer to fulfilling our mission to make this amazing science accessible and affordable to the masses thanks to emerging technology and major dedication.”