May 01, 2006

Last Tuesday, Geron Corporation received a U.S. patent regarding several methods to obtain insulin-secreting cells. U.S. Patent No. 7,033,831 ("Islet cells from human embryonic stem cells"), issued on April 25th, claims methods “for obtaining human insulin secreting cells.” This patent states not only the number of people with or at risk of diabetes, but the then-current costs of treatment of the disease. The first method discloses a system comprising “culturing hES cells in a first medium comprising Activin A” and “maturing [those] cells [] in a second medium comprising nicotinamide; thereby obtaining a population comprising human insulin secreting cells.” Other media, including trans-retinoic acid and TGF-β antagonist and one or more mitogens, either along with nicotinamide, are also elements of method claims in this patent. This patent discloses a system “[f]or embryonic stem cell derived islet cells to become a commercially viable proposition, there is a need to develop new procedures that provide for populations of islet cells of high purity,” and discloses “a system for efficient production of primate cells that have differentiated from pluripotent cells into cells of the islet cell lineage.”

U.S. Patent No. 7,033,831: LINK
Geron Press Release: LINK
bizjournals News Article (through Yahoo!): LINK


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