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Canadian life science company licenses Indiana University immortalized Kupffer cells

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INDIANAPOLIS — Researchers who study liver function can now purchase mouse cells developed at Indiana University that can be grown in vitro and are immortalized, or capable of undergoing division for long periods of time.

Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., which protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at Indiana University so it can be commercialized by industry, has licensed the cells, called Kupffer cells, to Applied Biological Materials Inc., a life science company based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

Kupffer cells are difficult to isolate in large quantities, and they die off due to a finite lifespan. Batches from multiple sources can be cultured to produce enough for experiments, but they are not genetically identical. The immortalized Kupffer cells allow users to continuously use the same population of cells for repeatable experiments.

Angela Trinh, senior licensing manager, said Applied Biological Materials will market the cell population to clients. The cell line, ImKC, will be available for purchase online.

"Users of this cell line include those who want to study live cells found in mice livers and their functions," she said. "The immortalized version of Kupffer cells eliminates the need to go through multiple sources to isolate the cells. These cells by nature can be grown in vitro and retain characteristics similar to primary cells. They can be manipulated for studies."

The immortalized Kupffer cells were developed by Dr. Zheng-Yu Wang, James Klaunig and Lisa Kamendulis. Wang was an assistant research professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and is now at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Klaunig is a professor of environmental health, and Kamendulis an associate professor of environmental health, in the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.

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About the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.

IURTC is a not-for-profit corporation tasked with the protecting and commercializing of technology emanating from innovations by IU researchers. Since 1997, IU research has generated more than 2,700 inventions resulting in over 3,900 global patent applications being filed by IURTC. These discoveries have generated $133 million in licensing and royalty income, including $111 million in funding for IU departments, labs and inventors.

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