OLDSMAR — Patients with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's or Huntington's disease, or multiple sclerosis, may potentially benefit from a new patent issued to Saneron CCEL Therapeutics Inc. and the University of South Florida. The patent covers a method that may enable increased use of cord blood stem cells in medical therapies, according to a Saneron investor.
"This patent means that cord blood stem cells can now be used to treat neurological conditions for which there are few alternatives. Too often these valuable cells are disposed of as medical waste," says Linda Kelley, chief scientific officer with Oldsmar-based Cryo-Cell International (symbol: CCEL; recent price, $2.09) in a release.
The patent was awarded for a method of retrieval, incubation and transplantation of cells derived from umbilical cord blood, which can be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, as well as spinal cord and brain injuries. The patented method has the
potential to treat heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases as well, according to Kelley.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells provide an advantage over stem cells derived from bone marrow because they're easier to get, says Nicole Kuzmin-Nichols, president of Saneron, a Tampa-based research firm with rights to 20 patents related to cellular therapy technology.
A cord blood sample can be grafted with less likelihood of disease from the process, adds Dr. Alison Willing, a professor at USF's neurosurgery department, and an inventor on the patent.
Cryo-Cell's partnership with Saneron has spurred more patents related to cord blood banking than any other cord blood bank, says David Portnoy, Cryo-Cell chairman and co-CEO, in the statement. “We are on the forefront of regenerative medicine."
Cryo-Cell has stored stem cells from more than 500,000 families in 87 countries. The company reported 2012 revenues of $18 million. Cryo-Cell is a major shareholder in Saneron, a University of South Florida spin-out company. The biotech research and development firm focuses on neurological and cardiac cell therapy.