ReNeuron, the UK-based stem cell research and development company, has noted the recent publication in Nature Medicine of findings by US researchers indicating that human embryonic stem cell lines (ESCs) have been contaminated by non-human molecules derived from the animal feeder cell layers used to grow the cells.
The Company has received a number of enquiries regarding the potential impact of these findings on its activities.
ReNeuron’s stem cell lines are derived from somatic, or lineage-restricted, stem cells rather than earlier-stage ESCs, and are grown in the absence of animal feeder layers. The Company’s c-mycERTAM technology platform allows unlimited controlled expansion of these stem cell lines from individual human cells.
ReNeuron’s stem cell therapy programmes are consequently unaffected by the reported findings. Indeed, the findings highlight the advantages of ReNeuron’s technologies over those involving the use of ESCs and feeder layers.
ReNeuron’s lead stem cell product, ReN001, is currently in late pre-clinical development as a treatment for patients who have suffered disability after stroke. ReN001 has been shown to be safe and efficacious when transplanted into pre-clinical models of chronic stroke, and the Company expects to commence clinical trials with ReN001 in early 2006.
Dr John Sinden, Chief Scientific Officer of ReNeuron commented:
“Stem cells hold the promise of delivering significant therapeutic advantages to patients for whom very little is currently available. Our aim is for ReNeuron’s somatic stem cell technologies to deliver therapies to patients at the earliest opportunity. Whilst alternative approaches utilising embryonic stem cells will also undoubtedly have an important therapeutic role to play in the future, the findings in Nature Medicine highlight our belief that ESCs bring with them a number of significant further hurdles in generating a safe and effective cell therapy product.”
Notes to editors
ReNeuron is a privately held UK bio-pharmaceutical company and a pioneer in stem cell research and development. The Company has leading edge, proprietary stem cell technologies from which it is developing groundbreaking cell therapy products. ReNeuron’s focus is on cell therapy treatments designed to reverse the effects of major diseases such as stroke, diabetes and diseases of the retina.
ReNeuron believes its approach to stem cell therapy confers significant advantages over competitor technologies, in terms of the Company’s ability to generate stable, functional cell lines with the characteristics necessary for scale-up to a viable cell therapy product capable of treating large patient populations.
ReNeuron has demonstrated convincing efficacy data in a pre-clinical model of stroke, and its ReN001 stem cell therapy for stroke is now in late pre-clinical development. The Company aims to commence clinical trials with ReN001 in early 2006.
ReNeuron has broadened its product pipeline by initiating programmes to develop stem cell therapies for Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and diseases of the retina.
More information on ReNeuron and its programmes can be found on the Company’s website at www.reneuron.com.
Michael Hunt, Chief Operating Officer and Finance Director, ReNeuron
Dr John Sinden, Chief Scientific Officer, ReNeuron
44 (0) 1483 302560
David Yates/Lucy Briggs, Financial Dynamics
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