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Geron Announces Launch of Telomerase-Immortalized Cell Line

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Geron Corporation has announced the launch of an immortalized human cell line available through ATCC® (American Type Culture Collection). The line, T HESC, is a human endometrium fibroblast-like cell line immortalized with human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT).

Telomerase is an enzyme shown to confer unlimited replicative capacity to normal cells without causing deregulation of normal growth control. The endometrial cells used to produce the T HESC line were obtained from an endometrial myoma.

The T HESC cell line (ATCC® CRL-4003™) is the fourth telomerase-immortalized cell line offered by ATCC as part of its Cell Immortalization Program.

The other three are the BJ-5ta (ATCC® CRL-4001™), human foreskin fibroblasts; hTERT-HME1 (ATCC® CRL-4010™), human mammary epithelial cells; and hTERT-RPE-1 (ATCC® CRL-4000™), human retinal pigmented epithelial cells.

To validate and authenticate the products, ATCC tests all immortalized cell lines to ensure they exhibit extended proliferative capacity, stable genotype, selected phenotypic markers and continued expression of hTERT protein.

The telomerase-immortalized cell lines are then sold by ATCC under a royalty-bearing license from Geron.

For cell-based research, these telomerase-immortalized cell lines provide significant advantages over primary cells or cells transformed with oncogenes.

They provide a stable, uniform cell population for functional cell-based assays and long-term gene expression studies.

In addition, these immortalized cell lines can undergo repeated rounds of genetic engineering, thus enhancing their potential utility in biological studies, cell-based screens and drug toxicity testing.

"We are pleased that our partner, ATCC, has launched another telomerase-immortalized cell line," stated David L. Greenwood, Geron's chief financial officer.

"Over time, we continue to demonstrate the utility of telomerase: first, in research and development applications such as immortalized cell lines; and second, in therapeutic applications for the treatment of cancer and chronic diseases."

"Our telomerase inhibitor drug and our telomerase-dendritic cell vaccine are in multiple clinical trials in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), prostate cancer, renal cell carcinoma and other hematological malignancies."

"Through our joint venture TA Therapeutics, formed with our partner the Biotechnology Research Corporation of Hong Kong, we are advancing the development of telomerase activator drugs, which may be used to restore the functional capacity of cells in chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS."