Patent granted for adult stem cell production technologies

21 August 2011

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent covering the technologies used in the production of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
These cells are important for stem cell and regenerative medicine research and development, and are considered by many to be a useful and ethically acceptable alternative to human embryonic stem (HES) cells, though the properties of the two forms of cell are not identical.
This includes two key methods of iPSC production, both involving the insertion of specific genes into somatic cells.These technologies were developed by Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University; Kyoto and the related iPSA Academia have previously made an agreement to patent pooling with company iPierian (see previous news).

The development is good news for Kyoto, despite already holding patents in Japan and Europe, thanks to the size of the potential market in the US. The US patent is also broader than the Japanese one, including additional genes similar to those used in iPSC production, although the European patent granted last month is reportedly broader still, including products created by the iPSC production technology genes. 

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