A Medical Device Daily
Advanced Cell Technology (ACT; Marlborough, Massachusetts), a specialist in the field of regenerative medicine, said it has been issued a patent (number 8,017,393) for the company's method for generating and expanding hemangioblast cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). ACT holds an exclusive license to commercialize the technology in North America through an agreement with Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine International (SCRMI), a joint venture between ACT and CHA Bio & Diostech (CHA Biotech; Seoul, South Korea). Hemangioblasts are precursor cells that can generate a broad spectrum of important blood, immune, and vascular cell types, including red blood cells, platelets, blood vessels, and mesenchymal stem cells, which have powerful immune-modulatory effects and can make bone and cartilage among other replacement tissues.
“This is the first U.S. patent on the commercial production of hemangioblast cells, and puts another important piece in place for protecting our hemangioblast program and establishing a firm intellectual property position around the therapeutic products we are developing,“ said Gary Rabin, ACT's chairman/CEO. “We are steadily moving toward the clinic with several cell therapy products that are manufactured from hemangioblasts. Having robust patent protection around our manufacturing process is an integral part of the equation for securing investment in these programs.“
The hemangioblast cells covered by the new patent are highly expandable and have been shown to consistently and reproducibly give rise to a multitude of cells of the hematopoietic (blood) and endothelial (vascular) lineages. A recent scientific publication showed that hESC-derived hemangioblasts can differentiate into functional megakaryocytes and platelets on a large scale. The hESC-platelets displayed features that were indistinguishable from those of normal blood platelets, and participated in both clot formation and retraction in vitro.
“This technology has enormous clinical potential,“ said Robert Lanza, MD, chief scientific officer of ACT. “These hemangio-colony forming cells are one of the most powerful types of cells known. They are useful in a variety of clinical settings, such as providing transfusable blood and platelets for emergency medical situations. Our preclinical research has also shown that hemangioblasts can repair vascular damage, including complications associated with diabetes, heart disease, and peripheral artery disease. Importantly, hESC-derived hemangioblasts can provide an unlimited source of 'off-the-shelf' mesenchymal stem cells – which among their many potential applications - have been shown to repair damage after myocardial infarction, osteoarthritis, and to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's (irritable bowel syndrome) and multiple sclerosis, among others.“