Keck Graduate Institute Professor Awarded Patent for Stem-Cell Therapy Aiding Heart-attack Patients

Published: Oct 06, 2011

CLAREMONT, Calif., Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Professor Ian Phillips of Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) and a former KGI research professor have been awarded a patent for a novel procedure that involves stem cells in the recovery of heart-attack patients.

The patent covers a two-step process developed by Phillips and Yao Liang Tang, MD, that makes it possible to produce large numbers of pure stem cells for transplantation into the heart or other tissue.

"It's a step towards therapy," said Phillips, PhD, KGI's Norris Professor of Applied Life Sciences.

The use of cardiac stem cells helps restore heart tissue damaged by heart attacks and heart failure.

Previous methods for producing such stem cells required long exposure to digestive enzymes to separate the stem cells, which grow in clumps. But the enzymes allowed fibroblasts, cells that have no heart-pumping action, to grow and contaminate the cell culture, making the stem cells useless for heart repair.

Phillips and Tang, now at the University of Cincinnati, invented a procedure that does not require enzymatic digestion. In the first step, cardiac cells from a biopsy are grown in a culture and identified by a stem-cell marker. In the second step, the marked cells are isolated by cell sorting and grown in isolation to increase their number.

"We designed it as an improvement on the existing method by getting rid of the fibroblasts," said Phillips, who now has four patents and three other applications pending.

He and Tang have applied for a separate patent to apply the two-step process to all kinds of adult stem cells.

KGI BackgrounD

Educating the future leaders of the bioscience industry, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) offers an interdisciplinary graduate education through its Master of Bioscience (MBS) degree program, its Postdoctoral Professional Masters in Bioscience Management, and its PhD program in Applied Life Sciences. Using team-based learning and real-world projects, KGI's innovative curriculum seamlessly combines applied life sciences, bioengineering, bioethics and business management. KGI also has a robust research program concentrating on the translation of basic discoveries in the life sciences into applications that can benefit society. KGI is a member of The Claremont Colleges, located in Claremont, California.

SOURCE Keck Graduate Institute

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