This patent covers methods of extracting an adherent mesenchymal-like stem cells from the Wharton's Jelly of the umbilical cord. The extracted cells are negative for MHC and are termed by the inventors human umbilical cord perivascular (HUCPV) cells. In the examples section the the cells are demonstrated to be capable of differentiating into osteocytes, chondrocytes, adipocytes, and myocytes.
The first independent claim covers "A method of obtaining a population of human umbilical cord perivascular (HUCPV) cells, comprising: (a) obtaining an excised blood vessel from human umbilical cord comprising the perivascular region of said vessel; and (b) treating said blood vessel by enzymatic digestion of the perivascular region and isolating a population of HUCPV cells that comprise an MHC.sup.-/- phenotype from said digested perivascular region"
So if someone where to use, for example, a non-enzymatic method of isolating the HUCPV, then one could circumvent this patent. That is the drawback with patents of methods of extraction. It will be interesting to see if patents will be issued on composition of matter of these cells.
However it should be noted that cells from Wharton's Jelly of similar phenotype have previously been used for a variety of applications including treatment of lung fibrosis.
The last time we interacted with the Assignee company, Dr. Jeff Turner was CEO and the model of banking cord matrix cells was being commercialized. It will be interesting to see where the company goes now with the new CEO.
Other patents cover placental derived cells, such as Celgene's embryonic-like stem cells, which also appear to be of mesenchymal lineage.