A new study shows Athersys Inc.’s (NSDQ:ATHX) stem cell technology could hold therapeutic benefits in treating spinal cord injuries.
Researchers found that administering Athersys’ MultiStem technology to rodents with spinal injuries reduced inflammation and promoted the regrowth of neurons, according to Athersys and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
The study was conducted by Athersys and Case researchers and will be published in the January issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, the company said.
"This study demonstrates for the first time that an adult stem cell is capable of modifying multiple aspects of the wound response following a spinal cord injury,” said Jerry Silver a professor in Case’s Department of Neurosciences.
For Athersys, the study represents yet another potential application of MultiStem, an off-the-shelf stem cell treatment derived from the bone marrow of adults or other non-embryonic sources. MultiStem is also being studied in the treatment of blood cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Its most promising application may be for stroke.
Still, because MultiStem has only been tested for spinal injury in rodents thus far, it’s many years away from being ready for the regulatory review required to enter the market — and that’s if everything goes well in subsequent years of testing. "Significant research remains before we can apply these methods in human therapy,” Athersys CEO Gil Van Bokkelen said.
Earlier this month, Athersys said it had completed patient enrollment in the single-dose portion of a clinical trial that’s treating blood cancer patients with MultiStem.