The approval of 52 of Genea’s hESC lines provides academic and commercial researchers with innovative cellular tools to drive the discovery of new treatments for serious genetic or acquired diseases including orphan diseases. Amongst the 52 stem cell lines listed with the NIH Stem Cell Registry are 43 disease-specific hESC lines representing 24 different genetic diseases. These genetic diseases include:
• neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s disease, tuberous sclerosis and infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy; and
•neuromuscular disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Becker muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy and FSHD.
Also included are cell lines expressing genes coding for genetic cancers, metabolic conditions, vascular diseases and eye conditions.
The nine unaffected cell lines approved are from varied genetic backgrounds. All cell lines are derived in full compliance with international ethical and regulatory standards.
Genea Biocells General Manager Uli Schmidt said the approval of the cell lines by the NIH is an acknowledgment of the Company’s expertise and leadership in this field and reflects the exceptionally high ethical standards under which Genea Biocells operates.
“These cell lines will give scientists across the world vital and adaptable platforms to find treatments, and hopefully cures, for some of the most devastating diseases humans face today,” Dr Schmidt said.
“These approvals make Genea Biocells the leader in the provision of normal and disease-specific human embryonic stem cell lines, ahead of any other institution or company in the world.”
Genea Biocells’ human embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos voluntarily donated by patients who have undergone in vitro fertilisation - often in conjunction with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) - at Genea’s fertility clinics.
Under the guidelines of the NIH Stem Cell Registry, all lines listed must have been derived from embryos that were created solely for reproductive purposes; excess to the reproductive needs of the donors; and must have been fully consented for stem cell derivation in a specific, fully informed and voluntary consent process. No financial or other inducements can be offered or made for embryo donation. Many Genea patients appreciate the option to donate to research embryos that are unsuitable or no longer required for their reproductive purposes. They see it as a valuable contribution to the greater good and a more meaningful alternative to discarding their embryos.
Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning that they have the potential to form any cell type of the human body and can replicate indefinitely. All other non-pluripotent types of stem cells have limitations with respect to the number of replications and the range of cell types they can form. Embryonic stem cells are considered the gold standard pluripotent cell type by the majority of scientists.
Genea Biocells has the world’s largest private bank of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells with more than 100 individual lines representing almost 30 different genetic diseases. NIH applications for remaining Genea Biocells cell lines are in preparation.