More MS news articles for April 2001

New Jersey Company Gathers Stem Cells From Placentas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Apr 12 - A New Jersey company has announced that it can harvest stem cells from a controversy-free source: the human placenta.

Anthrogenesis Corp., of Cedar Knolls, announced Wednesday that it has been able to collect 10 times as many stem cells from a placenta as can be gathered from an umbilical cord. The 3-year-old company has a proprietary technology for removing blood from the placenta, sustaining the organ in the laboratory and then recovering the cells several hours or days later.

Placenta-derived cells have the same cell-surface molecules as other stem cells used in research, the company's chief scientific officer, Dr. Robert J. Hariri, told Reuters Health. Dr. Hariri invented the harvesting technology. While the company has not yet published any information on the stem cells, he said, it expects to do so within "a few months."

The company issued a press release rather than waiting to publish its research, Dr. Hariri said, because of the great need for alternative stem-cell sources. He commented that the company is looking for collaborators who could help speed up the research and development process.

Dr. Hariri and his colleagues are now engaged in determining placenta stem cells' potential for differentiation. Anthrogenesis is working with other organizations to test the cells in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and some cancers, and in other types of regenerative medicine, Dr. Hariri said.

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