Stem Cell Sciences plc (SCS) has acknowledged two reports, by academic scientists from the University of Edinburgh and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which validate proprietary SCS technologies for improving the efficiency of therapeutic cloning, or so-called "cell reprogramming."
In a significant report, published in June 14th edition of the journal Nature, Professor Austin Smith and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh conclusively demonstrate that the candidate pluripotency gene "Nanog," named after Tir nan Og, the mythological Celtic land of the ever young, can indeed play a dominant role in reprogramming tissue cells into an embryonic stem cell state without the need for generating an embryo.
Dr. Mountford, Chief Executive Officer of SCS, the exclusive licensees of the technology, said, "This very exciting research demonstrates the speed with which SCS cell reprogramming technology is developing and further validates the growing asset base SCS holds in the field of human cell-based regenerative medicines."
"It represents a major step forward towards reprogramming adult cells without the need to make human embryos."
The University of Edinburgh discovery comes hot on the heels of another significant cloning breakthrough, published by MIT researchers working in collaboration with Professor Smith's team, in the May 2006 edition of the journal Stem Cells.
This earlier report demonstrates that another exclusively licensed SCS technology, the recently announced Neural Stem cell, improves (to levels as high as 50% -100%) the efficiency of deriving new embryonic stem cell lines via reprogramming through the production of embryos (as per Dolly the sheep).
Commenting on the research, Dr. Peter Mountford, President and CEO of SCS, said, "The radical improvement in the efficiency of cloning new stem cell lines from normal body cells will no doubt fuel research efforts to show that therapeutic cloning is achievable for human cells."
"While SCS is not pursuing this objective, we do expect that this validation of our technology will generate new out-licensing opportunities for SCS with companies wishing to use the cells to engineer animal models of human disease."