SYDNEY, 15 December 2014: Australian stem cell company Genea Biocells is now the largest single contributor to the human embryonic stem cell lines approved for use by the Steering Committee for the United Kingdom Stem Cell Bank (UKSCB) with 84 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines approved for research in the UK.
The approval by the UK Steering Committee of Genea’s hESC lines provides UK and European academic and commercial researchers with access to innovative cellular tools to drive the discovery of new treatments for serious genetic or acquired diseases.
Amongst the 84 stem cell lines now registered with the UK Stem Cell Bank are both unaffected lines and those affected by a range of genetic diseases including 54 disease-specific hESC lines representing 30 different genetic conditions. 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
- chromosomal abnormalities such as Turner Syndrome (X Monosomy), Trisomy 5, 8, 21 and 22 .
Genea Biocells General Manager Uli Schmidt welcomed the registration of the lines, a first for an Australian company.
“These cell lines will give UK and European scientists vital and adaptable platforms to find treatments, and hopefully cures, for some of the most devastating diseases humans face today,” Dr Schmidt said.
“The approval of the cell lines by the UK Steering Committee is an acknowledgement of Genea Biocells’ expertise and leadership in this field and reflects the exceptionally high ethical standards under which the company operates.”
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.
Genea Biocells develops disease-specific and unaffected human pluripotent stem cell lines, differentiation protocols, chemical compound libraries and culture media for use in disease modelling, research, drug development and cell therapy.
Building on extensive stem cell capabilities as well as expertise in high-content screening, assay design and chemical biology, Genea Biocells partners with scientists in industry and academia to advance research projects using stem cell-driven approaches and customized solutions for drug development.
Genea Biocells has the world’s largest private bank of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells and developed the world’s first consistent, scalable and high-yield differentiation process for functional skeletal muscle cells.
Genea Biocells is part of fertility group Genea, a public, unlisted company that has been operating world leading IVF clinics since 1985. The company has been supplying commercial stem cell solutions for 10 years, drawing on an almost 30 year research heritage within Genea. More information is available at www.geneabiocells.com
UK Stem Cell Bank
Funded by the MRC and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the UK Stem Cell Bank was established to provide an ethically approved, quality controlled and assured repository of human embryonic, fetal and adult stem cell lines to underpin high quality research and healthcare developments.
The Bank is an internationally-leading centre of excellence in stem cell banking, and actively supports a number of national and international research and training programmes.
The UKSCB supports UK regulation on use of human embryos by holding and distributing embryonic stem cells derived in the UK and also receives stem cells from the international community. It is part of the UK regenerative medicine infrastructure, supporting UK and other national regulatory bodies and policy makers around the world.
The UK Stem Cell Bank plays a key role in the governance of UK hESC research. All UK research using hESC lines must comply with the bank’s Code of Practice for the use of Human Stem Cell Lines.
For more information please visit: http://www.nibsc.org/science_and_research/advanced_therapies/uk_stem_cell_bank.aspx