This company uses Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) to help keep track of unique and personal human biospecimens like sperm, eggs, embryos, tissues and organs.
Precious objects, precious piece: “I like to think that our genetic material is our heritage and should transcend lives,” said Wei Escala, founder and CEO of String of eggs.
According to Escala, the preservation of biospecimens required a decentralized approach because although current record keeping methodologies involve due diligence, centralized records suffer from a weakness.
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“Data history can be lost or temporarily inaccessible, sometimes due to malicious outside forces.”
Eggschain, a healthcare tech startup with operations spanning technology, reproductive medicine, and scientific research, turned to blockchain, specifically Bitcoin’s network, to eliminate the risks posed by centralization.
“Using the blockchain to store encrypted transaction records provides an audit trail of key events. This story is immutable and cannot be changed. This new supply chain solution aims to provide a universal tracing and tracking platform to provide peace of mind for individuals and families undergoing IVF [In vitro fertilization] and the professionals who serve them, ”said Escala.
But – Why Bitcoin? Bitcoin is not really the cryptocurrency that is discussed in the context of smart contracts or decentralized applications or DApps; so – why go for Bitcoin?
“Building on Bitcoin was very appealing to me because it is the oldest and most combat-proven blockchain, likely to exist beyond our lifetimes,” the entrepreneur told Benzinga.
Eggschain chose to rely on Bitcoin via Battery (CRYPTO: STX), a blockchain that enables smart contracts and DApps functionality around apex cryptocurrency.
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Using Stacks has helped Eggschain avoid “high gasoline costs,” while leveraging its security, Escala said. Another reason for choosing Bitcoin was Stack’s smart contract language “Clarity.“
“I found it very simple, easily readable and easily revised. Partly because it is based on functional programming languages. I’ve always been a fan of functional programming languages, ”said Escala, a 15-year veteran of software leadership.
Location, location, location: For owners of genetic material that is stored for long periods of life, it is important to know where it is at any given time.
The decentralized nature of the blockchain is ideal and “makes it the most secure and secure design for backing up historical data,” Escala explained.
“The biospecimen belongs to the customer; the ultimate ability to know the last location or condition of the biological sample should also be shared with the client. “
Count your eggs: HeLa, an immortal cell line, which is the most widespread cell line used in research, from cancer cells taken from a 31-year-old black woman Henrietta is missing in 1951. She died the same year.
Lacks was never told that her genetic material would be used for research, and her family did not have access to her patients’ data, nor made any monetary profit from the use of her cells.
However, this example has shaped the way consent and biomedical practices are viewed today, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Benzinga asked Escala if placing biological samples on the blockchain could lead to their monetization.
“As to the potential for obtaining compensation, it depends on the laws of the country. In some countries, sperm and / or eggs can be donated with compensation (to the donor) which can be incurred as a result of the sperm and / or egg collection procedures, ”Escala revealed.
For now, Eggschain is focused on tracking, matching, and managing inventory of biological samples through what they claim to be the first patented solution that combines genetic material and blockchain.
The results are life changing: “A human egg (in a woman or extracted for preservation) is a cell. Another example of a cell is a sperm. In fact, the human egg is the largest cell in the human body, ”Escala explained.
Eggschain CEO said that if these cells are cryopreserved for the future and survive the individual donor, there will be “estate plans that clearly outline a consent or lack of consent to donate, transfer or other decisions “.
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Then there are the embryos and the tissues of the umbilical cord, which have their own impact. Women and men may choose to save their eggs or sperm because they are not yet ready to start a family or are still looking for a partner.
Women with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses might choose to freeze their eggs or sperm before undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, Escala said.
The same is true for men or adolescents undergoing certain treatments who may choose to freeze their sperm or eggs earlier in life to give them a chance to have children later in life.
“Owners of biological specimens can make any decision they wish regarding the transfer of ownership or retention of these biological specimens for themselves and / or their families for future use. “
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