VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The LifeNet Health Institute of Regenerative Medicine has recently succeeded in creating the world's first human pluripotent stem cells from cells obtained from tissue donors by the method of mRNA-based reprogramming. The cells, generated at LifeNet Health's Institute of Regenerative Medicine, were obtained from adult tissue donors with full consent, and thus avoid the ethical concerns that have historically slowed progress with other stem cell types. The cells and the technique to produce them represent a major advancement in stem cell science. Rony Thomas, LifeNet Health's President & CEO stated, "This milestone achievement in the early life of the Institute is both meaningful and foundational. This new technology will take LifeNet Health into bold new areas of drug discovery and therapeutic applications to help combat diseases today that medicine has no answer for." The resulting cell line will be commercially available as part of a full range of both normal and disease specific human cell lines, offered to the stem cell research community once the necessary characterization and quality control processes have been completed.
These cells, known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, were produced using non-integrating mRNA (messenger RNA) encoding master genes that regulate cell fate. Other technologies used to make iPS cells in animals or humans over the past 5 years have mainly used viruses to deliver the necessary genes and the resulting cell lines can contain the uncertain results of DNA integration into the host cell genome. iPS cells have the potential to be expanded and grown indefinitely and then coaxed to form any type of cell in the body. This means the iPS cells may eventually offer an inexhaustible supply of new cells and tissues to treat degenerative diseases and traumatic injuries. Dr. Roy Ogle, LifeNet Health's Chief Science Officer stated, "While the promise of disease cures will take years of focused research and safety studies before use in humans, this new work at LifeNet Health's Institute of Regenerative Medicine opens the door to a new era of scientific inquiry to identify the causes of genetic disease and cancers and to identify the drugs to better treat these conditions."
The LifeNet Health Institute of Regenerative Medicine is a division of LifeNet Health located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Institute labs will be expanding as new facilities are under construction and planned to be completed next summer. Once completed and fully functional the Institute will house over 50 medical, scientific, and research staff members The focus will be on the science of developing regenerative medicine products for patients all over the world and will serve as a global center of excellence for research and the development focused on cellular therapies, tissue engineering, and new medical applications for allografts to maximize the gift of donation.
LifeNet Health helps to save lives and restore health for thousands of patients each year. We are the world's most trusted provider of transplant solutions, from organ procurement to new innovations in bio-implant technologies and cellular therapies—a leader in the field of regenerative medicine, while always honoring the donors and healthcare professionals that allow the healing process.
SOURCE LifeNet Health