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Technique for Rapidly Reprogramming Adult Cells Into Stem Cells Published in PLoS Biology
Date:10/24/2008

- Technology In-Licensed by Stem Cell Sciences From University of Cambridge

- ("Stem Cell Sciences", "SCS", "the Company")

CAMBRIDGE, England, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Stem Cell Sciences plc (AIM: STEM, ASX: STC), a company focused on the commercialisation of stem cells and stem cell technologies, notes that a paper describing a technique for reprogramming adult mammalian cells into authentic induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has been published in PLoS Biology, the peer-reviewed scientific journal from the Public Library of Science (PLoS)(1). This rapid and reliable new approach for generating pluripotent stem cells without using mammalian embryos uses the combination of chemical inhibitors in SCS' Culticell iSTEM(TM) media range to overcome serious limitations in current approaches for producing such cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells are expected to have enormous potential in medical research, drug discovery and for the development of cell-based therapies.

The newly described technique, which was developed by Professor Austin Smith and his team at the University of Cambridge, features a key proprietary step that forms the basis of a licence agreement signed recently between SCS and Cambridge Enterprise, the technology transfer company for the University of Cambridge. The licence is a significant addition to SCS' strong portfolio of intellectual property around the development and commercialisation of stem cell technologies.

The key step as described in the PLoS publication for this rapid and new approach for making iPS cells occurs at the transition point between incomplete and complete reprogramming to pluripotency. Previous studies have indicated that progression through the transition point had been notoriously inefficient, but now via the use of chemical inhibitors (of the enzymes MEK and GSK3) in combination with the cell growth promoter, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), the inefficient process has been dramatically improved; partly converted stem cells complete the transition efficiently and become indistinguishable from authentic embryonic stem (ES) cells (i.e. those generated from early stage embryos).

The combination of chemical inhibitors used in this technique also forms the basis for SCS' Culticell iSTEM(TM) media range, which is being bought and used by researchers to establish pure and stable populations of authentic ES cells. SCS' Culticell iSTEM(TM) medium was launched earlier this year and is part of SCS' stem cell culture media business, which provides a growing and important revenue source for the company.

Dr Tim Allsopp, Chief Scientific Officer of Stem Cell Sciences, commented, "This proprietary technique greatly facilitates the simple, most reliable and efficient route to obtaining authentic induced pluripotent stem cells and will form the basis for the industrialization of iPS cell production. This peer-reviewed publication is an important validation of the technology Professor Smith and his team have developed and Stem Cell Sciences is very pleased to be working with Cambridge University and Professor Smith's team on this important breakthrough."

(1) Promotion of Reprogramming to Ground State Pluripotency by Signal

Induction. Silva, J. et al. (2008) PLoS Biol 6(10): e253

doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060253

About Stem Cell Sciences plc

Stem Cell Sciences (SCS) is an international research and development company focusing on the commercial application of stem cell biology technologies for drug discovery and regenerative medicine research. Stem Cell Sciences is now focusing on building revenues through the sale of products, collaborative research and licensing deals with international biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Stem Cell Sciences has a substantial portfolio of patents and patent applications in both adult and embryonic stem cell fields. The Company has been active in the stem cell research field since 1994, principally focused on technologies to grow, differentiate, and purify adult and embryonic stem cells. These include technologies to permit the generation of highly purified stem cells and their differentiated progeny (specialized tissue cell types) for use in genetic, pharmacological and toxicological screens. Moreover, these technologies may be able to provide pure populations of appropriate cell types for transplantation therapies in the future.

The Company has its main research base and headquarters in Cambridge, UK with a second research base in Monash near Melbourne, Australia and a business development office in San Francisco, USA.

For further information on the company please visit: http://www.stemcellsciences.com .

---------------------------------

(1) Promotion of Reprogramming to Ground State Pluripotency by Signal

Induction. Silva, J. et al. (2008) PLoS Biol 6(10): e253

doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060253

For further information, please contact:

Stem Cell Sciences plc (United Kingdom)

Alastair Riddell, CEO

Tim Allsopp, Chief Scientific Officer

+44(0)1223-499160

Stem Cell Sciences pty ltd (Australia)

Paul Bello, Operations Manager

+61(0)400-500-495

Citigate Dewe Rogerson (United Kingdom)

Mark Swallow / Emma Palmer Foster / Amber Bielecka

+44(0)20-7638-9571

Talk Biotech (Australia)

Fay Weston, Director

+61(0)422-206-036

Daniel Stewart & Company (United Kingdom)

Simon Leathers / Simon Starr

+44(0)207-776-6566


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SOURCE Stem Cell Sciences plc
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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