Stem Cell Innovations Inc, Houston, announces that the company will collaborate with Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), Boston. MEEI is an international leader in ophthalmology and otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. Under the material transfer agreement, MEEI will evaluate PluriCells™ for their capacity to form the human tissues implicated in hearing loss. In return SCI will receive a nonexclusive license to intellectual property generated using the PluriCells.

“This collaboration with MEEI is another example of our strategy to work with top research groups in the world to accelerate human stem cell research,” says Stem Cell Innovations CEO Dr. James Kelly. “As our PluriCells do not fall under the Presidential ban, there is a lot of interest from the academic world to get access to our human pluripotent stem cell platform.”

Stem Cell Innovations recently disclosed it has produced multiple lines of human pluripotent stem cells. These PluriCell lines can be efficiently cultured in tissue culture plates without the use of feeder layers and can be efficiently differentiated into multiple cell-types, having the potential to aid in drug discovery and development.

PluriCells are a type of pluripotent stem cell isolated from fetal tissue that have the ability to become all cell types of the body. Because they are developed from fetal germ cells, not viable embryos, they are eligible to be used in any NIH funded laboratory. Stem cells derived from fetal germ cells were explicitly excluded from the Presidential ban by the Department of Health and Human Services guidance document of March 19, 2002, that laid out what type of stem cells could and could not be used in federally funded research.

[SOURCE: Business Wire, October 2006]