By Kwame Mensah --
Recently, MultiCell Technologies, Inc. of Woonsocket, RI, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on unmet medical needs for the treatment of neurological disorders, hepatic disease, and cancer, announced that it had been issued U.S. Patent No. 7,935,528, which is related to the isolation and use of human liver stem cells to treat liver disease. MultiCell Technologies is the worldwide exclusive licensee of the '528 patent, which is assigned to Rhode Island Hospital.
The '528 patent describes methods to isolate and use human liver stem cells to treat degenerative liver diseases or inherited deficiencies of liver function. MultiCell Technologies believes that one of the benefits of the claimed methods is that liver stem cells, which differentiate into functional mature hepatocytes, can be used to reconstitute a diseased liver. This provides a useful alternative approach to whole organ transplants for certain liver diseases.
W. Gerald Newmin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MultiCell Technologies, stated that the liver stem cells of the '528 patent would help the company "better understand liver stem cell biology, and the role these cells play in chronic liver disease and primary hepatocellular carcinoma."
Claim 1, which is the lone independent claim of the '528 patent, recites:
A primary liver stem cell, wherein said stem cell (a) is obtained from normal liver tissue, (b) is isolated from an isolated liver cell cluster comprising a hepatocyte and said stem cell, wherein said hepatocyte and said stem cell are joined by a desmosomal junction, (c) expresses OV6 [an oval cell marker], and (d) does not express OC2 [an oval cell marker], wherein said stem cell comprises a DNA encoding a heterologous protein.