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Stem cell transplants improve recovery in animal models for stroke, cerebral palsy

and efficiently delivered on a widespread basis. We believe that we can achieve that with MultiStemTM," commented Dr. Van Bokkelen.

In extensive animal testing, the mature stem cells have been shown to be safe, and do not form tumors or other abnormal tissue, a potential problem seen with embryonic stem cells. Furthermore, MultiStemTM cells generally do not require the close genetic matching between donor and recipient that is needed for a bone marrow or conventional stem cell transplant, according to company executives.

Another advantage is that use of immunosuppressive drugs does not appear to be required, in contrast to other types of stem cell treatment. Animals that received MultiStemTM without immunosuppression of any kind did just as well as animals that received MultiStemTM treatment along with daily doses of Cyclosporine A, a drug typically given to transplant recipients to prevent rejection. Such drugs can cause undesired side effects, and may be problematic if administered to patients for long periods of time. These results are consistent with those seen in other models, such as using MultiStemTM to treat damage caused by heart attacks, company officials say.

Although they have not specifically looked at whether stem cell therapy might be useful months after an ischemic event, MCG researchers and company scientists believe early therapy likely will be the most successful.

The researchers already are working with the Food and Drug Adminstration with the goal of beginning clinical trials within the next few years.

In preparation for potential clinical use, the researchers are pursuing transplants in larger animal models and studying how MultiStemTM cells work in living human brain tissue housed at the MCG Human Brain Bank, directed by Dr. Sergei Kirov.

"Number one is safety," said Dr. Borlongan. "We are movin
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
7-Apr-2006


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