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Patent Allowance Gives STI Rights to Use Sertoli Cell Lines in Islet Transplantation, Cell-Based Gene Therapy


Providence, RI – Jun 07, 2000

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will issue a sixth patent protecting the exclusive use of Sertoli cell lines by Sertoli Technologies Inc. (STI) in developing transplant therapies for insulin-dependent diabetes and other disorders.

The patent expands on U.S. Patent No. 5,725,854, which covers creation of immunologically privileged sites using Sertoli cells, to include use of immortalized Sertoli cells and cell lines.

STI is a cellular therapy company developing products to treat insulin-dependent diabetes (the Sertolin islet transplant) and hemophilia (Hemaphix). The new U.S. patent will issue to Research Corporation Technologies, which formed STI in 1996. STI has exclusive wordwide rights to the platform technology.

“This patent is an important addition to our robust intellectual property portfolio,” said STI President adn CEO Alfred Vasconcellos, who recently joined the company. “Protecting the use of Sertoli cell lines not only helps our ongoing product development but brings added value to our discussions with corporate partners who wish to license STI technology for other applications.”

STI’s technology is based on landmark work at the University of Tennessee Medical Center by Dr. Helena Selawry who showed Sertoli cells protect foreign islets from rejection by producing immune inhibitors directly at the graft site.

The technology harnesses the Sertoli cells’ natural ability to modulate the immune system to create a local immunoprovileged site for therapeutic-cell transplantation and cell-based gene therapy. Sertoli cells obtained from cell lines or animal sources protect themselves and other co-transplanted cell types from destruction by the host’s immune system without the need for chronic immunosuppressive drugs. This technology enables treatment of life-threatening diseases caused by a patient’s impaired ability to produce a protein, such as insulin in diabetes or factor XIII in hemophilia, by implanting cellular “factories” that supply the missing therapeutic factor.

STI’s products have the potential to provide more effective treatments for patients and replace chronic drug therapy, eliminating enormous costs to the health-care system.

STI is a privately held company developing Sertoli-based products for cell therapy and cell-based gene therapy. STI has operations in Rhode Island, North Carolina and Arizona and is collaborating extensively with Drs. Ray Rajotte and Gregory Korbutt at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and Drs. Paul Gores and Craig Halberstadt at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.


Alfred Vasconcellos, STI, (401) 821-3500.