CellPro Inc. said Friday that its Ceprate SC Stem CellConcentration System is being used in a gene therapy trial inpatients with chronic myelogenous leukemia.

The Phase I/II trial, in collaboration with the University ofTexas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will use Ceprate to enrichnormal stem cells obtained from the bone marrow of CMLpatients for use in autologous bone marrow transplants. Thefirst patient was enrolled on March 6.

Concentrated stem cells will then be genetically modifiedthrough the addition of a gene conferring resistance to theantibiotic neomycin. Ceprate concentrates stem cells by usingmonoclonal antibodies that bind to stem cells bearing the CD34marker molecule.

The trial, which is expected to be completed by late spring,aims only to track the modified cells. Longer term, the goal is toinsert a gene correction that would make healthy CD34 stemcells immune to chemotherapy, said Larry Culver, chieffinancial officer of the Bothell, Wash., company (NASDAQ:CPRO).

CML is the uncontrolled proliferation of granulocytes in thebone marrow caused by abnormal stem cells. CML patientshave a median survival of three to four years, and bonemarrow transplantation in the early stages of the disease is theonly effective therapy.

Earlier this month, CellPro announced that Ceprate will be usedin a gene therapy trial designed to cure adenosine deaminasedeficiency.

The company's shares lost $1 to $12.50 on Friday. -- KarenBernstein

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