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Institute Receives Endorsement from the Catholic Medical Association for Utilizing Ethically Derived Stem Cells


Coralville, IA, USA – December 22, 2017

John Paul II Medical Research Institute (JP2MRI), an Iowa City, Iowa-based non-profit organization, has received the endorsement of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) for their novel regenerative medical research. Working in conjunction with Cellular Engineering Technologies (CET), a pro-life Iowa-based biotechnology company that specializes in adult stem cell and pluripotent stem cell manufacturing, JP2MRI seeks to improve drug discovery and advance regenerative medicine through the use of ethically derived stem cells.

The two organizations have developed technology that creates Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) in a manner that could make them safer and better for clinical applications. IPSC are adult stem cells that are genetically reprogrammed into an embryonic-like state. These cells offer tremendous potential in cell-based therapies since they have the ability to form virtually every type of tissue found in the human body, without the need to use embryonic stem cells. Historically, like embryonic stem cells, iPSC have often shown tumor formation when transplanted into mice. However, thanks to a recent breakthrough from the joint research efforts of JP2MRI and CET, a novel method for the creation of IPSCs has been discovered that could significantly reduce the potential risk (of tumors, specifically) associated with transplantation of these cells during clinical studies.

Prior technologies to create IPSCs have required c-Myc and Lin28 oncogenes, or cancer-causing genes. These specific oncogenes are the major determinants of IPSCs causing tumors when transplanted into mice. CET-JP2MRI cell production uses alternative methods that replace the need for these specific cancer-causing genes. CET and JP2MRI, which were founded by Dr. Alan Moy and are located in the University of Iowa Research Park, presented their research findings in Future Science Open Access in a manuscript entitled "Efficient Method to Create Integration-Free, Virus-Free, and Myc and Lin28-Free Human IPS Cells From Adherent Cells." Co-authors of the article included scientists from the University of Iowa, Western New England University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

"The availability of c-Myc and Lin28-free IPSC opens commercial opportunities to expand the utility of cord blood and adult stem cell therapies, along with promising solutions in advancing personalized medicine, drug discovery, gene therapy, bio-banking, and protein manufacturing," said Dr. Moy. This novel and exciting approach opens a pathway for creating safer IPSC-based cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, rare diseases, cancer, and common chronic diseases.

JP2MRI also provides scientific and policy advice on medical ethics and healthcare where it intersects biotechnology and has published in the Catholic Medical Association’s Linacre Quarterly in an article entitled, "Why the moratorium on human-animal chimeric research should not be lifted (May 2017)." JP2MRI believes the CMA's endorsement helps validate their ethical medical research efforts, and also offers an opportunity for future collaborations with Catholic hospitals and physicians who belong to the Catholic Medical Association.

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