Cambier, Refaeli awarded patent to produce blood stem cells

By Staff




A team led by School of Medicine colleagues John Cambier, Distinguished Professor and chair of Immunology and Microbiology, and Yosef Refaeli, Dermatology Department and the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology, received a patent for a technique to create large amounts of adult blood stem cells using small blood samples including cord blood or bone marrow.

The technology and related patents have been licensed to CU startup company Taiga Biotechnologies. Taiga is headed by Refaeli and Brian Turner, a former CU Microbiology and Immunology researcher who is also an inventor on the patent.

The company is pursuing several clinical indications where expanded access to stem cells could open up new avenues of treatment. For example, instead of receiving several bone marrow transplants after chemotherapy or radiation, a cancer patient could store his/her own blood sample before the procedure, then receive a transplant of his/her own cells expanded from the sample.

The company is currently in the process of clinical development in order to initiate human clinical trials within the next couple of years. One of the key elements to enable the first in-human clinical trials involve the cell biomanufacturing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility that is being built by the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology at the Anschutz Medical Campus. This new facility will be essential to enabling the expansion of human blood stem cells in a controlled environment under FDA requirements, Refaeli said.

The patent, U.S. 8,883,507 “Conditionally Immortalized Long-term Hematopoietic Stem Cells and Methods of Making and Using Such Cells” is the first U.S. patent issued from a large international portfolio of intellectual property initially filed by CU Tech Transfer on behalf of the university in 2005.