TEXT-BrainStorm study positive for spinal cord injuries

Published: July 6, 2008  |  Source: reuters.com
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(The following was issued by Israel’s BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc)

BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. (OTCBB:BCLI), a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies and therapeutics, has completed a preclinical study in collaboration with the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

The study conducted at the Keck Center was an effort to repair spinal cord injuries in animals through the transplantation of Brainstorm’s neurotrophic factor (NTF) adult stem cells. The results showed a positive trend of the NTF cells in the male animals.

The scientific team at the Keck Center injured the spinal cords of rats to replicate the type of trauma that causes Paraplegia in humans. The rats were divided into two groups: the first was transplanted with Brainstorm NTF human cells and the other received similar injections of medium but without cells.

During the experiment, the rats were scored using the BBB test to evaluate their Motor function. The results indicated improved recovery in the group that received the NTF cells by comparison to the control group.

The Keck Center researchers and Brainstorm scientists have concluded that these results may lead to a possible treatment and therefore the study will continue. The next step will be to transplant immunologically compatible syngeneic rat NTF cells to avoid rejection problems.

Rami Efrati, BrainStorm CEO commented, “We are pleased with the outcome of our spinal cord injury research with the Rutgers team, and hope that the next experiments using rat NTF cells will also yield positive results.”

Dr. Martin Grumet, Director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers and principal investigator of the experiment commented, “Transplantation of human cells into rats is complicated by rejection problems. Although the human NTFs survived only several weeks after transplant into the rats, we saw improvement in the BBB scores in the test group. In the next experiment, we will inject rat NTF cells into spinal injured rats. This will limit rejection problems and should allow us to more clearly analyze the effect of the BrainStorm technology.”

There are an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 spinal cord injuries every year in the United States. A quarter-million Americans are currently living with spinal cord injuries and the cost of managing the care of these patients approaches $4 billion each year. More than 38 percent of all spinal cord injuries occur during car accidents, and almost one fourth are related to violent encounters, often involving guns and knives.

Other causes include sporting accidents, falls and work-related accidents. More than half of all spinal cord injury patients are between the ages of 16 and 30 and more than 80 percent are men.

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