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NIH grants to Children's Hospital will advance novel stem cell treatments for blood disorders
Date:2/16/2010

The new decade may herald an era of cell therapytreating human diseases by delivering highly specific beneficial cells. In the wake of an NIH decision late last year permitting federally funded researchers to use new lines of human embryonic stem cells, the door has opened more widely to stem cell research.

Anyone who has ever undergone a bone marrow transplant has received a type of cell therapy, but current progress in stem cell research holds the potential of precisely controlling cell development for a broader variety of clinical treatments than ever before.

Two large federal grants recently awarded to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia will advance the frontiers of research into cellular therapies. Both programs aim to engineer human cells into new generations of cells and tissues for patients suffering from blood diseases, cancer and, likely, a greater range of other disorders.

One grant focuses on developing human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to improve platelet supplies for hematology and oncology patients, as well as using platelets to deliver customized proteins to injured blood vessels. The other grant concentrates on creating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a type of stem cell that researchers would use to better understand a variety of diseases, and eventually channel into producing healthy replacement tissues for sick patients. Both programs exemplify 21st century cellular therapy.

"Having a larger and higher-quality supply of platelets will benefit many patients," said Mortimer Poncz, M.D., chief of Hematology at Children's Hospital, and co-principal investigator of the $16.8 million, seven-year grant entitled, "Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Platelets as Cellular Therapeutics." The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, issued the grant under a new initiative, the NHLBI Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium.

Platelets are naturally occurring blood
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Contact: John Ascenzi
Ascenzi@email.chop.edu
267-426-6055
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Source:Eurekalert

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