Applied Immune Sciences Inc. has received a $50,000 Phase Ismall business innovation research grant from the NationalInstitutes of Health to evaluate use of its Cellector technologyto harvest hematopoietic stem cells from the blood of cancerpatients.
Hematopoietic stem cells are the parent cells for all blood andimmune cells. If the procedure works, it might obviate theneed for autologous bone marrow transplants in patientsundergoing chemotherapy.
The transplants involve removing the patient's bone marrow,administering chemotherapy or radiation therapy, andreinfusing the marrow. Patients often suffer relapses,possibly because the marrow contains cancer cells.
If only the stem cells are harvested, AIS hopes the chances ofrelapse could be reduced.
AIS now harvests stem cells directly from surgically obtainedbone marrow using Cellector technology. The company hopesthat patients could undergo a conditioning regimen to increasethe supply of stem cells in the peripheral blood to provide amore accessible source of cells.
The success of the technology depends in part on whether stemcells in the blood are equivalent to stem cells in bone marrow,said Jack Anthony, vice president of marketing and businessdevelopment at AIS. Scientists haven't yet determined if thetwo sets of stem cells are the same.
In a separate announcement Monday, Menlo Park, Calif.-basedAIS said it has signed a distribution agreement with J-Bio S.A.of Les Ulis, France, granting European market rights on the AISMicroCellector product line to J-Bio's European subsidiary,TechGen International. Terms weren't disclosed.
The MicroCellectors are sterile cell separation devices for usein laboratory research. Introduced in 1990, they are based onthe same technology as the larger Cellector devices underdevelopment for therapeutic uses.
In June, AIS licensed distribution rights to the MicroCellectorto Fischer Scientific for marketing in the United States,Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. AIS is negotiating for aJapanese distributor.
AIS stock (NASDAQ:AISX) closed up $1 at $16.50 on Monday. --Karen Bernstein
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