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Cancer Cure Supplier

For tens of thousands of U.S. cancer patients each year, bone marrow transplants offer the best hope for a cure. But as many as 60 percent of patients cannot find donors who are genetically compatible. A new technology created by Gamida-Cell in Jerusalem, Israel, could improve those odds. The technology takes advantage of the fact that banked blood from newborns’ umbilical cords, which contains blood-producing stem cells, can offer a better chance for a match than the adult bone marrow most patients receive. But umbilical-cord blood contains relatively few stem cells-only enough to aid recipients weighing less than 50 kilograms. Gamida-Cell has developed a chemical that significantly increases the number of stem cells in cultured cord blood. If all goes according to plan, the company will produce stem-cell-enriched blood itself and sell it as a transplant product, starting as early as 2006. Human trials of the approach have already begun at the University of Texas’s M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

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