October 2008




Pfizer gets in on stem cell research



Pfizer (New York) is stepping into the stem cell business, according to a Wall Street Journal health blog. The blog quoted a Reuters report that said the company opened a “regenerative medicine unit” in Cambridge, Mass. last spring, and plans to open another similar shop in Cambridge, U.K., in November. According to the blog, the U.S. shop will focus on heart disease and diabetes; the U.K. operation will focus on ophthalmology and the central nervous system.

New techniques will be used to give ordinary adult cells the characteristics of embryonic stem cells, the blog said. “These cells will be tremendous in drug discovery,” an R&D exec at Pfizer told Reuters. “They will help us understand personalized medicine, genetic variation, ethnic populations, what biomarkers to follow.”

The research will start off in early-stage safety testing. But ultimately, could move on to creating new tissues to be used to treat disease—new heart cells, for example, could repair damaged tissue, the blog said.

A few company rules have been laid out by Pfizer for the stem cell road that don’t preclude the eventual use of embryonic stem cells for therapeutic use, according to the blog.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/09/24/pfizer-moves-into-stem-cell-research/

Reported by: EyeWorld News Services

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