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Pioneering three-year study will investigate technology and workflow needs in a clinical setting

Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:45am
The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM & CHALFONT ST GILES, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 22, 2012-- Karolinska University Hospital Sweden and GE Healthcare Life Sciences today announced a joint research collaboration to drive advances in technologies and workflows for use in the rapidly emerging field of cell therapy. The three year collaboration will combine Karolinska University Hospital's world-class clinical expertise in cell therapy with GE Healthcare's industry-leading capabilities in cell biology and in technologies for the manufacture of biotherapeutics.

Cell therapy, the use of cells to replace damaged tissue or to treat disease, shows great promise for the treatment of many life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's and age-related macular degeneration. There is enormous interest in the potential health benefits of cell therapy, with more than 500 studies worldwide currently at the clinical experimental phase. Karolinska University Hospital is leading several pioneering cell therapy trials for the treatment of cancer as well as neurological and metabolic disorders. GE Healthcare Life Sciences has over 30 years' experience in developing technologies for the manufacture of biotherapeutics. The company also has a pioneering research program aimed at developing new technologies that will help enable the new era of cell therapy.

The goal of the collaboration is to explore and advance future technology and workflow needs for cell therapy in a clinical setting.

Before cell therapy can be used as a routine treatment, there are a number of significant technological and regulatory challenges that need to be addressed. Routine cell therapy will require new technologies to grow, handle, process and analyze cells, as well as the development of robust, reproducible and standardized protocols and workflows for manufacturing and quality control. Karolinska University Hospital and GE Healthcare will work together to identify what is needed to make this a reality. The research will be coordinated by Pontus Blomberg from the Karolinska University Hospital in conjunction with scientists and bio-engineers from GE Healthcare Life Sciences.

Welcoming the collaboration, Professor Johan Permert, Director for Development and Innovation, Karolinska University Hospital said, "Our expectation from this exciting and innovative collaboration is to solve problems that hinder cell therapies from becoming an established treatment. By involving not only researchers and industry partners but also the public healthcare system, we are aiming to develop methods and tools that accelerate the implementation of cell therapies into standard treatment. In addition, this collaboration is a first initiative to develop enhanced interaction between Karolinska University Hospital and industry, which will lead to improved care chains." Dr. Amr Abid, General Manager Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences said, "Cell therapy offers the hope that one day there will be treatments for diseases for which today there is no cure. Our vision at GE Healthcare is to help make that hope reality for patients and doctors by developing the technologies and workflows that will help bring cell therapy to the clinic. These are big challenges which will only be overcome by working hand-in-hand with the world's foremost experts in clinical cell therapy, which is why we're delighted to be working with the world-class cell therapy team at Karolinska." About Karolinska University Hospital Karolinska University Hospital is one of Scandinavia's premier health facilities and one of Europe*s largest teaching hospitals.. Our services encompass health care for disorders ranging from major public health diseases to rare medical conditions. In the Stockholm region, we are a designated provider of highly specialized medical services.

We also serve many patients from other parts of Sweden and from other countries around the world. As the county council*s teaching hospital, Karolinska University Hospital has a primary responsibility for the clinical components of research and education. Together with the world-respected Karolinska Institute, we lead in medical breakthroughs in Sweden. We believe that patient care, research, and education must all play equally strong roles in our effort to extend and enhance people's lives. As a major teaching hospital we educate and train tomorrow's medical specialists and healthcare professionals.

About GE Healthcare GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems. Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.

Follow GE Healthcare on twitter: @GEHealthcare Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50285304&lang=en CONTACT: GE Healthcare Dr Val Jones, +44 7917 175 192 Global Media Relations Manager val.jones@ge.com or Karolinska University Hospital Professor Johan Permert, +46 70 484 71 72 Director for Development and Innovation johan.permert@karolinska.se KEYWORD: UNITED STATES EUROPE NORTH AMERICA NEW YORK SWEDEN INDUSTRY KEYWORD: STEM CELLS HEALTH BIOTECHNOLOGY CARDIOLOGY CLINICAL TRIALS GENETICS MEDICAL DEVICES ONCOLOGY SOURCE: GE Healthcare Copyright Business Wire 2012 PUB: 05/22/2012 04:00 AM/DISC: 05/22/2012 04:00 AM http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120522005614/

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