Company To Test Drugs With Stem Cell Research

Published: May 26, 2005

The scientist who first isolated human embryonic stem cells in his laboratory now hopes to profit from the discovery. Even as a bruising debate unfolds in Washington over federal funding for stem cell research, Jamie Thomson and two colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have formed a company to test new drugs on heart cells they plan to develop from the undifferentiated master cells. Heart cells don't survive long or reproduce outside the body so scientists are now limited to testing the effects of experimental drugs on the heart in live animals and people. Heart cells derived from stem cells are thought to be hardier and will allow drug tests on the heart to occur in a petri dish. Thomson, who first isolated human embryonic stem cells in 1998, said the new company, Cellular Dynamics International, can show that Wisconsin is still a leader in the field as it faces stiff competition from other states.

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