Firm Says Journal Study Validates Its Technology
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - Stem Cell Business NEws
Tel Aviv, Israel-based BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (BCLI) said on May 31 that a new study reports a predisposition of human bone marrow-derived stem cells to differentiate into a variety of nerve cell types.
The findings support the prospect of using cell therapies derived from adult bone marrow-derived stem cells to treat devastating neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Authors of the study, published in the April issue of Stem Cells and Development, are members of a scientific team led by neurologist Prof. Eldad Melamed, head of neurology at Rabin Medical Center, and expert cell biologist Dr. Daniel Offen, head of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the Tel-Aviv University.
Melamed and Offen are among the company’s founders.
The authors show that their novel technique of stem-cell differentiation demonstrates the potential of developing dopaminergic cells, which are the cells that degenerate in Parkinson’s disease.
In the article, Blondheim, et. al. report that naive (undifferentiated) human bone marrow-derived stem cells express many neural genes and their protein products, including neural markers, receptors, transcription factors, and filament proteins.
The unique proteins essential for dopamine synthesis are among the proteins expressed by the evolving stem cells.
The levels of these genes and proteins are elevated following in vitro neuronal differentiation.
“These investigators are among the first to suggest gene focusing as the basis of stem cell differentiation,” said Denis English, Ph.D., in an accompanying editorial.
English is a professor of neurosurgery at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa and the journal’s editor-in-chief.
“The implication of these discoveries is that since the naive human bone marrow derived-stem cells already express some neuronal traits, they are ideal candidates for induction by specific protocols as developed by Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics, Inc. to differentiate into functional neuronal cells,” said COO Yoram Drucker.
The research by the Melamed-Offen team forms the basis of the intellectual property licensed by BrainStorm from Tel-Aviv University.
“These cells can then be utilized in the future for regenerative therapy in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease,” said Drucker.
The Melamed-Offen research team at Tel Aviv University has successfully used bone marrow stem cells to produce dopaminergic-like cells, which have been shown to be capable of secreting dopamine and improving symptoms in animal models of Parkinson’s disease.
The research team has also used its bone marrow stem cell technology to produce astrocyte-like cells with the capacity of producing glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), the most potent neurotrophic factor known for dopaminergic neurons.
Transplanted dopamine- and GDNF producing-cells, acting on their own or in combination, hold great promise for replacement and preservation of neurons in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS and MS.
BrainStorm is developing neural-like stem cell therapeutic products, NurOwn, based on autologous bone marrow-derived stromal cells, for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Contact: Dr. Holly G. Atkinson, 212-828-1561, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.brainstorm-cell.com