Stem Cell Bank Program Passed by Congress

Published: February 23, 2004
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Legislation to Create a National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Program Passed by Congress

Clinical Data Provided by ThermoGenesis Scientific Advisory Board Members Persuasive to Legislators

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — ThermoGenesis Corp. (Nasdaq: KOOL – News) announced today that the initial $10 million appropriation to establish a National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Network was approved by the Senate.

The appropriation was passed by the House last month. The goal of the authorizing legislation is to collect, over five (5) years, an inventory of 150,000 cord blood stem cell units to provide life saving stem cell transplant for the thousands of patients each year who need them and cannot currently get them from the “walking donor” bone marrow registries (as disclosed in the GAO Report, October 2002). This program, estimated to cost $150 million, will be administered by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), who will provide funds to FDA-qualified cord blood banks to store and distribute human cord blood stem cells for the treatment of patients and to support peer-reviewed research using such cells.

The role of ThermoGenesis has been the development of the BioArchive┬« System — an advanced robotic method of cryopreservation, archiving and retrieval that is used by the major cord blood banks in 23 countries.

According to Philip Coelho, CEO, this landmark, bi-partisan legislation follows from the June 12th Senate Hearing presentations of clinical data from Dr.’s Pablo Rubinstein (New York Blood Center (NYBC)) and Joanne Kurtzberg (Duke University Medical Center (DUMC)) who are pioneers of this form of cell therapy and ThermoGenesis scientific advisory board members. Cord blood stem cells are used in the treatment of malignant, genetic and acquired blood diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, thallassemia, and immunodeficiencies (“boy in the bubble”). Cord blood as a source of stem cells is available faster than bone marrow and provides survival rates for patients with these usually fatal diseases that can be as good, or better, than those following adult donor bone marrow stem cell transplants.

Philip Coelho further commented, “The federal financing of this large inventory of cord blood stem cell units creates a national treasure and completes the evolution of this unique cell therapy from pure research to routine clinical practice. This is an excellent demonstration of U.S. medical research functioning well — with both federal health agencies and academic research institutions each fulfilling their roles in promoting promising research through to tangible health benefits for U.S. citizens.”

The BioArchive System plays a key role in the emerging world cord blood standards that are being adopted for the processing and storage of blood components. A computer-driven robotic system to allow users to cryopreserve and archive up to 3,626 units of blood components in -196 degrees C liquid nitrogen. The BioArchive System can cryopreserve, archive and retrieve samples within liquid nitrogen without exposing the samples to detrimental transient warming events (TWE), which can reduce cell viability.

About ThermoGenesis Corp.

After extensive research, ThermoGenesis Corp.’s newly introduced technology platforms lead the world in their ability to produce biological products from single units of blood. Umbilical cord blood banks are utilizing the Company’s BioArchive System as a critical enabling technology for cryogenic archiving of stem cells for transplant, while its CryoSeal┬« FS System is used to prepare hemostatic and adhesive surgical sealants from patient blood in about an hour. ThermoGenesis Corp. has been a leading supplier of state-of-the-art Ultra-Rapid Blood Plasma Freezers and Thawers to hospitals and blood banks since 1992.

The statements contained in this release which are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, certain delays beyond the company’s control with respect to market acceptance of new technologies and products, delays in testing and evaluation of products, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: ThermoGenesis Corp.