Last week, Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) was granted a patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,893,315) for its “single-blastomere” technology that provides a non-destructive method for deriving human embryonic stem cells (hESC).  In ACT’s technique, a single cell is biopsied from an embryo and cultured to produce a hESC line.  The process does not destroy the embryo or impair the embryo’s subsequent development, hence the technique has been touted as “embryo-safe.”  This technique is similar to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) that has been used in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for many years. 

ACT’s patented single-blastomere technology has the potential to advance research in many areas, such as stem cell therapies, regenerative medicine, and modeling human genetic diseases.  This newly patented technology may also be useful in promoting progress toward derivation of embryonic stem cells that harmonizes with the European Medicines Agency and US FDA policies and regulatory standards.  Also, in a recent press release ACT’s CEO, Gary Rabin, indicated that collaborations are underway to create banks of cells derived using this proprietary method.