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TheraVitae Faults Washington Post For Misleading Article


10/19/2005 5:12:35 PM

BANGKOK, Thailand, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- TheraVitae Co. Ltd, an international cell therapy corporation, with offices in Thailand and research laboratories in Israel, today expressed dismay regarding a misleading report about stem cell contamination, written by Randolph E. Schmid, in Monday's Washington Post. TheraVitae is possibly the only company in the world that is currently offering self-donated adult stem-cell therapy to seriously ill heart patients.

"We are concerned that the Post article may cause desperately ill heart patients to reject potentially life-saving cell therapy treatment because it fails to make the critical distinction between embryonic and adult (non- embryonic), contaminant-free stem cells," announced Don Margolis, director of TheraVitae, from the company's Bangkok office.

"Most Americans are not aware that cell therapies using adult stem cells are currently available, and Mr. Schmid's article paints ALL stem cells with the same dirty brush. Our stem cell therapies do not run the same risks as therapies based on embryonic stem cells, precisely because we treat each patient with his or her own cells, not with cells harvested from embryos.

"Also, our cell therapies do not run the risk of being contaminated with non-human molecules, as are the embryonic stem cells discussed in the Post's article," he adds. "We are 100% free of this risk. No embryo nor embryonic cell nor feeder cell, animal or human, has ever been used in our research labs. The patients' own adult stem cells are grown in a culture medium, especially manufactured in America and approved by the FDA for growing human cells."

For now, the company has chosen to treat heart problems most obviously caused by decreasing blood flow -- angina and congestive heart failure. Next on its agenda will be peripheral vascular disease -- also caused by lack of blood flow.

Another disease currently being targeted by TheraVitae is macular degeneration, which causes blind spots and deterioration of the macula thus affecting central vision. The eye-disorder mainly affects the elderly -- older than 70. Now, about three percent of the over-70 population in the developed world suffers from the disease. That number is expected to increase as more people live longer. World-renowned ophthalmologist, Dr. Michael Belkin of Israel, is leading that research for TheraVitae.

Joining Dr. Belkin in TheraVitae's new ophthalmologic research is Professor John Marshall, who chairs the Academic Department of Ophthalmology at St. Thomas Hospital, United Kingdom. He has been pursuing research concerning the development of lasers for ophthalmologic diagnosis and surgery for the last thirty years.

His groundbreaking research led to the development of the Excimer laser for correcting refractive disorders and the first Diode laser for treating eye complications among patients with diabetes, as well as glaucoma and age- related macular degeneration.

Dr. Belkin paraphrased Pogo-creator, Walt Kelly, when he said, "We are facing a wall of insurmountable opportunities!"

For full descriptions of TheraVitae's Scientific Advisory Board members, go to http://www.theravitae.com/ ; click on "About Us," then on "Scientific Advisory Board."

BACKGROUND Additional Information on TheraVitae and on Cell Therapy

More information can be obtained from http://www.theravitae.com/ or, for medical information, call Dr. Valentin Fulga, CEO, in Israel, at 011-972-8940-9170.

About TheraVitae (pronounced theraVEETay)

TheraVitae is an emerging healthcare company focused on using the patient's own cells to treat a variety of disorders, especially cardiovascular diseases. TheraVitae is an international company, based in Bangkok, Thailand and Kiryat Weizmann, Israel, benefiting from collaborations with eminent physicians and scientists who are affiliated with well-known medical and academic institutions.

The company is committed to helping patients by developing and utilizing cutting-edge science at its highest standards. TheraVitae plans to launch a state-of-the-art facility for processing blood from patients in Thailand within the next year. The facility is expected to support cell-based products for Thailand and Southeast Asia and to develop protocols that utilize TheraVitae patented technology to treat other serious medical conditions.

TheraVitae has chosen Thailand as its base and as the site for the first clinical trial of its treatment protocol. The trial began in July and will be completed this June.

Thailand is vying to become an Asian health hub over the next three years. It is openly embracing biotech companies and already offers excellent health care at modern facilities. Almost 1.5 million non-Thais receive medical treatment each year and enjoy prices about one-quarter of those in the US.

A small number of heart patients are being accepted by TheraVitae in Bangkok. They will benefit from cell production at the research lab in Israel. (See: http://www.theravitae.com/ for the electronic form for personal information.)

For more information, please contact Don Margolis at 011-669-130-8818 or email at: DM@TheraVitae.com

CONTACT: Ruth Silverman

(847)-398-2019

TheraVitae Co. Ltd

CONTACT: Ruth Silverman, +1-847-398-2019, for TheraVitae Co. Ltd


Read at BioSpace.com


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