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UAB first in US with cell-processing workstation
Date:6/8/2011

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has taken a significant step toward making sophisticated cell therapy a part of patient care with its acquisition of the first cell-processing workstation (CPWS) from SANYO North America Corporation (SANYO) in the United States.

Richard Marchase, Ph.D., vice president for Research and Economic Development at UAB, says "UAB has a rich history of breaking ground in the cell-therapy arena. We are thrilled that we were able to be the first in the United States to use SANYO's CPWS. This will add to our world-class abilities to translate basic science into clinical medicine."

"The CPWS puts us beyond the state-of-the-art for cell manufacturing," says Larry Lamb, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and pediatrics in the UAB School of Medicine and director of UAB's Cell Therapy Lab.

The CPWS, a piece of equipment about the size of a small car, contains all the necessary equipment required to manufacture cells for cell therapy in a sterile environment. It is, Lamb says, "like a clean room in a box. It provides bio-containment that's ideal for keeping a cell product sterile and stable, which is especially important if the cells need to be cultured for a long period of time or require several manipulations."

A major project put to use in the CPWS will be the manufacturing of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for curing sickle-cell disease. In 2007 Tim Townes, Ph.D., published in the journal Science a paper outlining how his group took skin cells from sickle cell mice, transformed them into iPS cells, replaced the defective gene with a normal gene, then manufactured blood cells that, when placed back into the mice, cured them of the disease.

"The CPWS is the tool that allows us to translate basic science into clinical medicine as safely as possible," says Townes, professor and chair of UAB's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and Director of the UAB Ste
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Contact: Clinton Colmenares
ccolmena@uab.edu
205-934-3887
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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