Aastrom Biosciences Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., a developer ofproducts based on human stem-cell expansion technology,announced Wednesday that it has received two small businessinnovation research (SBIR) grants totaling $100,000 from theNational Institutes of Health.

The first, titled "Hematopoietic Cell Expansion System," is forthe development of a fully automated cell culture bioreactorthat can be used to grow stem and hematopoietic progenitorcells for bone marrow transplantation and hematopoieticsupport following high-dose chemotherapy.

The second, "A Clonal Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Assay," isto develop Aastrom's ex vivo model of human hematopoiesisinto a novel assay.

The assay can be utilized for evaluation of normalhematopoietic development, as a screen for cytokine activityand as a test for the toxicity of new drugs, such as those usedfor treatment of cancer and HIV/AIDS. The assay system willprovide the ability to assess hematopoietic development at allpoints, beginning with the stem cell and including multilineageprogenitor cells and their more mature progeny.

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