Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

StemCells, Inc's Releases Milestone Clinical Trial Results in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease

Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Study shows evidence of myelination following human neural stem cell transplantation.

StemCells, Inc. announced preliminary evidence of progressive and durable donor-cell derived myelination in all four patients who underwent transplantation with the Company's proprietary HuCNS-SC(R) cells (purified human neural stem cells) in its clinical trial for Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a rare hypo-myelination disorder in children. In addition, clinical assessment revealed small but measureable gains in motor and/or cognitive function in three of the four patients; the fourth patient remained clinically stable. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

A summary of the trial results were presented Saturday, March 31, at the 2012 European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA) Families/Scientists Meeting in Paris. The findings are being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

"The results from this Phase I study are meaningful and important," said study investigator Nalin Gupta, MD, PhD, UCSF associate professor of neurological surgery and pediatrics and chief of pediatric neurological surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "The safety and clinical outcomes a year after transplantation in this Phase I study, combined with durable radiological signals of myelin formation, provide objective evidence of a biological effect of HuCNS-SC transplantation that addresses the fundamental basis of the pathology in the brain of PMD patients. We also wish to recognize the families' contribution to this study. These advances would not be possible without their willingness to participate in this clinical research."

Patients with PMD have a defective gene, which leads to insufficient myelin in the brain. The disease occurs only in males, and those with the most severe form of the disease, connatal PMD, are significantly disabled from birth and usually die, within the first decade of life. The study was the first to test transplantation of neural stem cells as a potential treatment for a myelination disorder. Myelin is the substance that surrounds and insulates nerve cells' communications fibers (also known as axons). Without sufficient myelination, these fibers are unable to properly transmit nerve impulses, leading to a progressive loss of neurological function, and death.

The open-label Phase I trial, conducted between February 2010 and February 2012, enrolled four patients with the connatal form of PMD, between the ages of 14 months and 5 years, and was designed to assess safety and preliminary efficacy of the intervention. The study used magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, commonly employed in other neurological diseases, to explore signs of myelination related to the transplanted neural stem cells. The HuCNS-SC transplants were surgically delivered to multiple sites within the frontal lobes of the brain. Patients also received immunosuppression for nine months following transplantation and underwent intensive follow-up neurological assessments and MR imaging for twelve months following transplantation. A separate four-year observational study will continue to monitor and report the future progress for all four patients.

At the one-year interval, MR imaging showed changes compatible with increased myelination in the region of the transplantation. The MR signs of myelination persisted after the withdrawal of immunosuppression at nine months and were also found to progress over time. The development of new myelin signals is unprecedented in patients with connatal PMD and is consistent with HuCNS-SC engraftment.

"The finding of myelin formation in this first exploratory study is indeed very encouraging," said Stephen Huhn, MD, FACS, FAAP, Vice President and Head of the CNS Program at StemCells, Inc. "We believe that the results of this trial provide proof-of-concept and a compelling rationale for the Company to begin planning for a controlled Phase II study in PMD. These results may also have implications for other leukodystrophies, as well as more common myelin disorders including transverse myelitis, multiple sclerosis and periventricular white matter injury seen in Cerebral Palsy. We are very pleased to be working with investigators at UCSF and deeply appreciate the critical research expertise they have dedicated to the trial."

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

StemCells, Inc. Reports Positive Interim Data from Spinal Cord Injury Trial
Cells and procedure well tolerated; gains in sensory function confirmed.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Scientific News
How a Genetic Locus Protects Adult Blood-Forming Stem Cells
Mammalian imprinted Gtl2 protects adult hematopoietic stem cells by restricting metabolic activity in the cells' mitochondria.
Fat Cells Originating from Bone Marrow Found in Humans
Cells could contribute to diabetes, heart disease.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
CRI Identifies Emergency Blood-formation Response
Researchers report that when tissue damage occurs, an emergency blood-formation system activates.
New Way to Force Stem Cells to Become Bone Cells
Potential therapies based on this discovery could help people heal bone injuries or set hardware, such as replacement knees and hips.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
Promise of Newborn Stem Cells to Revolutionize Clinical Practice
In this article Shweta Sharma, PhD, discusses the potential of an Umbilical Cord Blood bank as an untapped source of samples for research and clinical trials.
The Life Story of Stem Cells
A model analyses the development of stem cell numbers in the human body.
Novel Stem Cell Line Avoids Risk of Introducing Transplanted Tumors
Progenitor cells might eventually be used to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed organs.
Advancing Genome Editing of Blood Stem Cells
Genome editing techniques for blood stem cells just got better, thanks to a team of researchers at USC and Sangamo BioSciences.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos