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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK
University gets stem cell funds
Newcastle University
Newcastle University hope to develop new treatments
Scientists at Newcastle University are celebrating after forming a partnership with a major American stem cell company worth 160,000 in investments.

The university will use the funding to further its research using stem cells obtained from babies' umbilical cords.

They hope the collaboration will bring them another step closer to developing new patient therapies.

These include treatments for patients with a range of liver complaints that could be used within five years.

They also hope to use the money to pay for an additional researcher and a research nurse and are developing and testing new tools for drug development.

The team of scientists, led by Colin McGurkin, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at the university, will help the American biomedical company, called BioE, to test and develop new products that aim to improve the storage of cord blood in return.

'Huge impact'

Professor McGurkin's team, which is based at the UK Centre for Cord Blood at the university, was the first in the world to produce embryonic-like stem cells from cord blood.

Stem cells have the potential to develop into any tissue type in the body which could include blood, blood vessel, liver and nervous tissue.

Professor McGurkin said: "This partnership marks a major boost for North East England. This research could have a huge impact not only on treating human disease, but also provide human tissues for drug development and testing."

BioE, who are based in Minnesota and provide human cord blood stem cells for research, described the partnership as "extremely valuable".

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