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Novocell Announces Discovery Linking Key Cancer Cell Signaling Pathways With Proliferation and Self-Renewal of Human Embryonic Stem Cells

- Findings Published in Blood -

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Novocell Inc., a stem cell engineering company, today announced research findings that for the first time identify two prominent cancer cell signaling pathways as essential for the efficient proliferation and self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The findings were prepublished online August 29, 2007 in Blood First Edition Paper titled "Self-Renewal of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Requires Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Receptor and ERBB2 Receptor Signaling."

Researchers studying the self-renewal of hESCs discovered a link with insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1R), and ERBB2/3. Both pathways are highly implicated in cancer and the target of numerous oncology therapeutics. EBRR2 is often overexpressed in breast cancer and other malignancies and is the target of the monoclonal antibody Herceptin. Researchers from Novocell, Invitrogen and the University of Washington collaborated on the published study.

"These new findings indicate for the first time that the major signaling pathways driving the self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells are also key pathways that signal inappropriately in a number of different cancers," said Allan Robins, Ph.D., senior author and Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Novocell. "Such a linkage provides an avenue for Novocell to potentially identify new targets for oncology therapeutics using human embryonic stem cells."

"The implication that key cancer pathways are associated with human stem cell proliferation and self-renewal is yet another exciting outgrowth from the extensive stem cell research at Novocell that includes our defined media STEMPRO(R) hESC SFM licensed exclusively to Invitrogen and our cell therapy for diabetes," said Alan Lewis, Ph.D., President and CEO of Novocell.

About Novocell

Novocell Inc. is a stem cell engineering company with research operations in San Diego, CA, and Athens, GA, dedicated to creating, delivering, and commercializing cell and drug therapies for diabetes and other chronic diseases. Novocell is the first company to efficiently engineer human embryonic stem cells into definitive endoderm, the gatekeeper cells that differentiate into many other cells, tissues and organs. Novocell has three primary technologies: stem cell engineering, cell encapsulation, and drug discovery. The company was founded in 1999, merged with CyThera and BresaGen in 2004 and completed a $25M Series C financing in July 2007. For more information, visit

SOURCE Novocell Inc.
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