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NIH awards funding to biotech firm for heart disease

Arteriocyte, the first spin-out company from the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, has received the first installment of its combined Phase I/II "fast track" Small Business Technology Transfer Award grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), one of the components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The first installment of the combined $1.4 million grant is for the first phase of a 10 patient study to test the safety of using stem cells to repair ischemic heart tissue caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart. The balance of the funding from the NHLBI is expected to be awarded later this year, contingent on successful completion of the Phase I study.

Arteriocyte is a start-up company spun out in 2004 from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland. It was founded by Mary Laughlin, M.D., and Vincent Pompili, M.D., of University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, with assistance from Case's Technology Transfer Office.

Arteriocyte's therapeutic goal is generating new blood vessels ("neovasculogenesis") to replace or supplement those blood vessels that fail to adequately supply oxygenated blood to heart tissue in patients with heart disease. The firm's technology consists of a method for combining multiple stem cell types derived from the blood in a unique way, and then infusing damaged tissues with them so new blood vessels will grow.

Plans call for patient testing to occur at University Hospitals of Cleveland later this year, pending NIH and FDA approval. In the study, patients with blocked or damaged heart vessels will have stem cells drawn from their own blood. These cells will then be enriched in the laboratory and reinjected into the patients at the site of their damaged heart tissue. Researchers expect this procedure to trigger the growth of new blood vessels to replace damaged ones. The therapy has the potential to a
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Contact: George Stamatis
George.Stamatis@case.edu
216-368-3635
Case Western Reserve University
25-Apr-2005


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