PRESS RELEASE: Professor Colin McGuckin, Chair in regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and the Fondation Jérôme Lejeune in Paris have announced the formation of a new venture 'Novussanguis ' to promote responsible research on cord blood and adult stem cells. Some 200 international participants were invited to the launch of the consortium at the Medical School of University Paris Descartes, in France. Novussanguis will try to help those patients who could benefit from treatment with adult and cord blood stem cells. Adult stem cells can be harvested from several human tissues such as brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, liver, cornea, retina, pancreatic cells and umbilical cord blood. With over 130 million births per year world-wide, cord blood is a particularly important source of readily available stem cells because of ease of access and supply.

Stem cells play a key role in research for treatment of several diseases. Today, over 80 diseases can be treatable with cord blood stem cells. Most of these are linked to the blood system (e.g. leukaemia) or the immune system (‘babies in a bubble’), but are also applicable to diseases affecting the bone marrow, nervous system, heart or metabolism such as juvenile diabetes.

The processing of cord blood and cells involves using high specification machines and technology in the laboratory. Prof. McGuckin’s laboratory at Newcastle, England are Planer users and many other clinical and research laboratories around the world use the special freezers from the London based company. Controlled rate freezers are used to pre-cool valuable samples before storage in ultra cold liquid nitrogen - so that when thawed the viability of the cells is optimum. The Novussanguis consortium is a platform of researchers - initially consisting of fifteen laboratories.

The first projects to be financed by Novussanguis will carry out research on nervous tissues damaged by strokes; pancreatic tissues that can produce insulin in vitro for diabetes research; cardiac tissues damaged by a myocardial infarction; epithelial tissues to improve treatment of wound healing; cornea, nervous tissues, bone, cartilage, tendons and blood vessels for orthopaedic applications; epigenetic profiling of cord blood stem cells to improve tissue engineering; expansion and clinical cryo-preservation of cord blood stem cells. By using this shared network of knowledge Novussanguis hopes to accelerate advancements in stem cell research. The information gained can then filter down through its network and be used to maximum effect wherever possible. Ends

More Information: Prof. McGuckin and Dr Nico Forraz The English team is internationally recognised as a leader in this field, with numerous publications on cord blood and adult stem cells. In 2005, Prof. McGuckin and Dr Nico Forraz demonstrated, for the first time, the existence of pluripotent stem cells in cord blood, called Cord blood-derived Embryonic-like stem cells (CBE’s) since they bear characteristics similar to embryonic stem cells. Contact: Novussanguis press office + 44 (0) 7917 863 958 or +33 (0) 1 44497345 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Planer plc Planer specialises in the control of temperature and other parameters in the hospital, laboratory, research, veterinary, manufacturing and university fields. Established in the market for some forty years it has moved from pioneering research in cryogenics to become a leading supplier of controlled-rate freezing and monitoring equipment for bio preservation – in embryology, stem cells, animal husbandry, pharmacology and medicine. The company has produced in excess of 10,000 temperature related equipments, and estimates that currently 5,000 controlled rate freezers are in regular use around the world. There are users of Planer software and temperature equipment in most developed countries of the world. The company, based near London's Heathrow airport, has a team of qualified technical managers, application engineers and product specialists to design its state of the art electronic, electromechanical and software products and distributes these world-wide backed up by a network of over fifty sales and service distributors around the world. Contact Jamie Bennet +44 (0) 19327 55000 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The Foundation Jérôme Lejeune, Paris Recognised by the French government in 1996, the Foundation Jérôme Lejeune finances every year over 100 scientific and medical research projects around the world. The Foundation is the principle financier for Down’s syndrome in France. The Foundation Jérôme Lejeune is interested in developing many innovative therapies and, having financed for a number of years adult stem cell research, the Foundation wishes to explore this route in more depth. In September 2006 the Foundation co-organised an international congress on adult stem cells in Rome gathering over 300 researchers from all over the world. Contact Sylvie du Cray-patouillet or Delphine Eriau Tel: +33 (0)1 45 03 89 89 – Fax : +33 (0)1 45 03 89 90 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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