Biocell Center Corp. and Caritas Christi Health Care inked a deal to start a cryopreservation service for amniotic fluid stem cells.
The Italian biotech firm, which has its U.S. headquarters in Medford, Mass., and New England’s largest community hospital network will use Biocell’s method of preserving stem cells obtained during routine second-trimester amniocentesis procedures. The mesenchymal stem cells can be stored for decades and are believed to hold the key to treating or even eventually curing a raft of diseases. Parents can opt to preserve the cells for use in the event of future illness for themselves or their children.
The deal also sidesteps objections to stem cell use from religious conservatives, who object to the use of cells obtained from human embryos. The Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, heralded amniotic fluid stem cells as "the future of medicine," calling their use morally acceptable, according to a press release.
Biocell Center planted its flag in Medford last October, citing Gov. Deval Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative and the Boston area’s strong research community as key reasons for the decision — and the great Italian food in the city’s North End didn’t hurt either, according to an MLSC spokesman. Biocell has facilities in Italy and Switzerland.