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Scientists celebrate stem cell business success

UK scientists are embarking on an international stem cell business collaboration with a US company, which will bring them another step closer to developing new patient therapies.

A team of stem cell researchers, based at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, has formed a partnership with the stem cell company BioE which is going to invest 160,000 in their work.

The team, led by Colin McGuckin, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at Newcastle University, will use the funding to further its world-leading research using stem cells obtained from babies' umbilical cords.

The team is working towards developing new therapies for patients with a range of liver complaints that could be used in hospitals within five years.

At the same time, the team is developing and testing new tools for drug development that could be available for companies to buy in several years time.

The funding will also pay for an additional researcher and for a research nurse who will work with new parents at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle to encourage them to donate their baby's umbilical cords to the group which is based there.

Having a good supply of cord blood is crucial for the research programme, so the nurse will explain to the baby's parents about the importance of contributing to the cord blood research.

The University researchers are also due to help the Minnesota-based BioE, to test and develop new products that aim to improve the storage of cord blood.

Prof McGuckin's team, which is based at UK Centre for Cord Blood at Newcastle University and which is a key part of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, was the first in the world to produce embryonic-like stem cells from cord blood.

Stem Cells have the potential to develop into any tissue type in the body and could therefore be used to develop a wide range of medical therapies.

Prof McGuckin said: "Our research indica
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Contact: Claire Jordan
press.office@ncl.ac.uk
01-912-226-067
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
2-Jun-2006


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