Innovation of the Week: Researchers discover novel stem cells in menstrual blood

November 21, 2007

By hammersmith

Medistem Laboratories, Inc., in collaboration with researchers from three partner institutions — the University of Western Ontario, the University of Alberta, and the Bio-Communications Research Institute — has announced the discovery of a novel stem cell population derived from menstrual blood. The researchers say the cells, which they call “Endometrial Regenerative Cells,” not only could solve the ethical dilemmas associated with embryonic stem cells but also can be differentiated into many more tissue types, potentially leading to more clinical applications. According to lead researcher Dr. Xialong Meng, “ERC cells can be converted into basically all the major tissues of the body, including the liver, lung, pancreas, brain, heart, blood vessel, and muscle. Additionally, these cells produce 100,000 times the number of growth factors found in cord blood, opening the door to numerous regenerative applications.” The Scottsdale, AZ-based company has filed for patent protection on the cell line and has begun the commercialization process, including pre-clinical efficacy studies, said president and CEO Neil Riordan, PhD. “The indications currently being assessed include diabetes, liver cirrhosis, lung fibrosis, organ rejection, and multiple sclerosis. Should the data gathered prove strong in one or all the indications, the next step will be to file INDs with the FDA and move into clinical trials,” Riordan added. Details of the discovery were published last week in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

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