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K-State receives patent for noncontroversial source of stem cells
Date:9/7/2010

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State University has been a issued a patent for a plentiful and noncontroversial source of stem cells from a substance in the umbilical cord.

The patent addresses procedures to isolate, culture and bank stem cells found in Wharton's jelly -- the substance that cushions blood vessels in the umbilical cord. These cells are called cord matrix stems cells and are different than those obtained from the blood cells in umbilical cords. The patent is for work by K-State's Mark Weiss and Deryl Troyer, professors of anatomy and physiology; Duane Davis, professor of animal sciences and industry; and former K-State professor Kathy Mitchell. Troyer and Davis were the first to find this previously unidentified source of stem cells.

The patent for Cultures, Products and Methods Using Umbilical Cord Matrix Cells was issued earlier this year to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, or KSURF. The Foundation is a non-profit corporation responsible for managing the technology transfer activities of K-State.

While stem cell research is again stirring debate, the K-State team calls their discovery an effective alternative.

"While there are ethical controversies with stem cells gathered from other tissues in the body, stem cells in Wharton's jelly can be harvested noninvasively and therefore are not controversial," Davis said. Conservatively, the jelly contains well over a million stem cells, he said.

"Any amniote -- that includes birds, reptiles and mammals -- has an umbilical cord or something like it, so this applies to humans as well as animals," Davis said.

In further studies the researchers found the stem cells in Wharton's jelly to be primitive in nature, meaning the cells could undergo more divisions than most adult stem cells, giving them a wide range of regenerative potential. This makes them useful for diverse applications.

The K-State team has explored numerous applications f
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Contact: Duane Davis
davis@k-state.edu
785-532-1244
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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