Baxter Healthcare Corp. announced Wednesday that it willbegin clinical trials this spring using blood stem cells andprogenitor cells purified from bone marrow of patientsundergoing radiation and chemotherapy.

The trial, to be conducted at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center,will evaluate Baxter's bone marrow purification process inpatients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer. Theprocess uses a monoclonal antibody, anti-CD34, to identify andpurify stem and progenitor cells found in bone marrow. Stemand progenitor cells selectively express the CD34 antigen ontheir surfaces.

"We look at bone marrow therapy as a key initiative forBaxter," said Russ Hayes, vice president of immunotherapy atthe Deerfield, Ill., company.

Baxter's process is covered by patents owned by Johns Hopkinsand exclusively licensed to Becton Dickinson and Co., which in1990 exclusively licensed the technology to Baxter fortherapeutic uses.

Hayes said Baxter is holding discussions with other companiesdeveloping similar technology to work out potential patentconflicts. Baxter plans to collaborate with biotech companies inthis area, Hayes said.

The biotech companies developing stem cell technology includeApplied Immune Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:AISX) of Menlo Park,Calif.; CellPro Inc. (NASDAQ:CPRO) of Bothell, Wash.; andSyStemix Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.

Applied Immune shares rose $3 to $28.50, CellPro lost 25 centsto $15.75, and SyStemix was down $1 at $58. -- KB

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