Human Muscle Progenitor Cells Ectopically Expressing Neurotrophic Factors to Enhance Intrinsic Neuronal Regeneration

JERUSALEM Israel, April 30, 2018 — Stem Cell Medicine Ltd. (SCM), a biotechnology company developing and commercializing cellular therapies in combination with pharmaceutical products with a focus on neurological indications, will present the results of a study titled “Human Muscle Progenitor Cells Ectopically Expressing Neurotrophic Factors Enhance Intrinsic Neuronal Regeneration in a Sciatic Nerve Injury Mouse Model”. The results will be presented by Prof. Dani Offen, a co-inventor of the technology, at the International Society of Cell Therapy Annual Meeting held in Montreal on May 2-5, 2018.

The study data shows that genetically-modified rats and human muscle progenitor cells with four different neurotrophic factors (MPC-NTFs) were found to synergistically alleviate both motoric and sensory deficits of sciatic nerve injury (SNI), a type of peripheral nerve injury, suggesting that MPC-NTFs may have therapeutic potential for treating nerve injuries and neuropathic pain related syndromes.

Professor Dani Offen, from the Laboratory of Neuroscience, Felsenstein Medical Research Center, part of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with Professor David Yaffe, of the Weizmann Institute of Science, are the inventors of the technology, which was licensed to SCM in 2015 by Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd. and Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd. for development and commercialization.

Dr. Frida Grynspan, SCM’s VP R&D and Site Manager, said, “The use of muscle cells genetically modified with VEGF, BDNF, IGF-1 and GDNF which are well-known neurotrophic factors, have the potential to provide strong regenerative signals to the injured nerves and prevent further damage and associated pain without the accompanying side effects of currently available treatments.”

Prof. Dani Offen, said “This new development is based on the combination of cells and gene therapies, two innovative technologies. The transplantation of MPC-NTFs significantly accelerated the repair of the damaged nerves and decreased the pain associated to the injury providing a new and exciting new treatment. We hope that in the near future we would be able to use these cells to alleviate the pain and accelerate the rehabilitation of damaged nerves in patients.”

Ehud Marom, SCM’s Chairman, said: “With such encouraging results we will continue investing in this treatment which is an important part of SCM’s focus on gene therapy and innovative combinations of cells with pharmaceutical drugs for neurological indications. SCM is progressing from pre-clinical activities to the clinical stages and is focused on starting Phase II trials for pain indications and other neurological diseases.”

About Peripheral Nerve Injury (PNI)
PNI results in partial or total loss of motor, sensory, and autonomic functions in the involved segments of the body, ending with severe disabilities. PNI is caused by nerve compression or trauma, among other causes. The failure of axons to regenerate properly following PNI results from a decreased functionality of the neurons, and the absence of supporting neurotrophic factors. Since the nerve axon usually regenerates slowly, muscle regeneration is hampered. The incidence of “no gap” PNI is observed in more than 300,000 cases per year in the US alone. There is a clear unmet medical need for therapies offering enhanced nerve repair and prevention of muscle atrophy.

About Stem Cell Medicine Ltd. (SCM)
SCM is a biotechnology company that develops second generation cell therapy products as stand-alone treatments or in combination with pharmaceuticals, with a focus on neurological indications, including MS, pain and neuromuscular injuries, and manages the production, registration and marketing of such products. The company, headquartered in Jerusalem, was founded in 2010 by an experienced team of entrepreneurs from the life science & pharmaceutical industries. SCM’s facilities include state-of-the-art R&D laboratories and GMP production cleanrooms that enable an optimal environment for the development of products up to and including clinical trials.

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The results of the study will be presented during Poster Session 2 on May 4, 2018 at the International Society of Cell Therapy Annual Meeting in Montreal on May 2-5, 2018.

Press Contact:
Frida Greenspan
Stem Cell Medicine