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McLean Hospital researchers awarded $1.9 9 million grant for stem cell, blood research
Date:9/29/2010

Belmont, MAResearchers at Harvard-Affiliated McLean Hospital have been awarded a $1.9 million National Institutes of Health Director's Opportunity Award to continue their research into creating human induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells using a method aimed at eliminating the risk of cancer and other problems associated with other options such as genome-integrating viral methods.

The three-year grant, made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was awarded to a research team headed by Kwang-Soo Kim, PhD, director of the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean, and Robert Lanza at Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine International (SCRMI), which is a joint venture with Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) of Worcester and CHA Biotech of Korea.

The joint venture involving ACT has been active in researching the use of these protein-induced pluripotent stem cells as a source of universal red blood cells and platelets for transfusion.

"This was really perfect timing for us because this work is a little bit beyond the capability of a single laboratory. It is technically demanding, labor intensive and expensive research," said Kim. "The award will support our continued research into iPS cell use that both avoids the risk of cancer growth and genetic dysfunction and provides a potential source of unlimited blood supply."

In 2009, Kim's team published an important study in the journal Cell Stem Cell, showing the ability to create stem cells out of human skin cells, eliminating the risk of cancer and removing some of the ethical concerns associated with embryonic stem cells. The paper described using proteins rather than genes or viruses to reprogram human skin cells, eliminating the risk of cancers or other abnormalities developing in the reprogrammed cells associated with the use of genes or viruses.

"The technique is hoped to result in the availability of the first clinic-ready human induced iPS ce
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Contact: Adriana Bobinchock
abobinchock@partners.org
617-855-2110
McLean Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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