Photo Release -- Harvard Bioscience's Bioreactor Grows a Synthetic Tissue-Engineered Trachea Used in World's First Successful Human Transplantation

HOLLISTON, Mass., July 7, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Harvard Bioscience, Inc. (Nasdaq:HBIO), a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of tools to advance life science research and regenerative medicine, announces that its "InBreath" bioreactor was used for the world's first successful transplantation of a synthetic tissue engineered windpipe. For first time in history, a patient has been given a new trachea made from a synthetic scaffold seeded with his own stem cells in Harvard Bioscience's bioreactor. The patient, a 36-year old man who had been suffering from late stage tracheal cancer, that before this surgery would have been inoperable, is well on the way to a full recovery and will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow.

The operation was performed on June 9, 2011 at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Stockholm, by Professor Paolo Macchiarini of Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, and colleagues. Professor Macchiarini led an international team including Prof. Alexander Seifalian from University College in London, England, who designed and built the nanocomposite tracheal scaffold, and Harvard Bioscience, who produced a specifically designed bioreactor used to seed the scaffold with the patient's own stem cells. The cells were grown on the scaffold inside the bioreactor for two days before transplantation into the patient. Because the cells used to regenerate the trachea were the patient's own, there has been no rejection of the transplant, and the patient is not taking immunosuppressive drugs.

David Green, President of Harvard Bioscience, commented, "We congratulate Professor Macchiarini and the entire scientific and surgical team on achieving this landmark in the history of regenerative medicine. This new type of surgery is likely to greatly expand the patient population that is treatable with organs grown in Harvard Bioscience's bioreactor. Previously, our bioreactor had been used to seed a patient's stem cells onto a donor trachea, so treatment was limited by the supply of donor organs. Now that our bioreactor has proven it can be used to seed a patient's cells onto a synthetic (i.e., manmade) scaffold, patients will not need to wait for a suitable donor trachea to become available."

Harvard Bioscience's strategy in regenerative medicine is: to create devices not discover pharmaceuticals as this reduces risk compared to a therapeutics company; to build these devices on its existing technologies and brands as this reduces the investment needed to get to market; and to develop devices with a significant disposable revenue stream as this is both clinically desirable and allows us to participate on a per-procedure basis and not just on the sale of an instrument. We estimate the nascent market for regenerative medicine devices could potentially grow to hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

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Harvard Bioscience's regenerative medicine tools can be found at the following links:

Note that Harvard Bioscience's regenerative medicine products are currently for research use only and are not for use in humans unless proper local investigational device regulations have been followed.

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