Storm Cell Therapeutics Inc., a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies and therapeutics, is pleased to announce that the Company has expanded its collaboration with Rutgers University in an effort to cure spinal cord injuries through BrainStorm’s cutting-edge adult stem cell research. The Spinal Cord Injury Project is the first focus of the W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University.
Spinal cord injuries cause damage to the fiber tracts that carry sensation and motor signals to and from the brain. Such injuries also damage the central part of the spine, causing segmental losses of interneurons and motor neurons. The study, combined with BrainStorm’s unique differentiation process, uses stem cells derived from human bone marrow that are expanded and induced to secrete neurotrophic factors. Preliminary evidence has indicated that transplantation of differentiated (but not non-differentiated) human bone marrow derived stem cells improved motor behavior of subjects used in animal studies as measured by motor and walking analysis.
Dr. Martin Grumet, Director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience who leads the research team at Rutgers University, said "After observing the significant effects of the BrainStorm cells in preliminary tests in the MASCIS model for spinal cord injury, we are excited to join forces and expand the research with the BrainStorm team. Rutgers' knowledge with spinal cord injuries, and BrainStorm's promising and unique technologies, are expected to advance the treatments to individuals with spinal cord injuries."
“We are excited to embark on this project with such a highly respected U.S. educational institution,” said Chaim Lebovits, President of BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics. “Our preliminary results provide a strong validation for continuing our collaborative efforts to confirm these findings through additional testing that could, with G-D’s help, potentially lead to a new strategy for cell therapy to cure spinal cord injuries.”
There are an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 spinal cord injuries every year in the United States. A quarter of a million Americans are currently living with spinal cord injuries and the cost of managing the care of spinal cord injury patients approaches $4 billion each year. 38.5% of all spinal cord injuries happen during car accidents, and almost a quarter (24.5%) are the result of injuries related to violent encounters, often involving guns and knives, while other causes are due to sporting accidents, falls, and work-related accidents. 55% of spinal cord injury victims are between 16 and 30 years old, and more than 80% of spinal cord injury patients are men.
Illustration: W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University.
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W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University