The grant was received from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This peer reviewed grant was awarded to support research to be headed by Denis O. Rodgerson, Ph.D., Director of Stem Cell Science for NeoStem and Mariusz Ratajczak, M.D., Ph.D., who is the head of the Stem Cell Biology Program at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville and co-inventor of VSEL(TM) Technology.
This award will fund studies to investigate the potential of very small embryonic-like stem cells as a countermeasure to radiological and nuclear threat. The product candidate, which is an autologous stem cell therapy derived from the patient's own stem cells, will be developed to rescue patients who have been exposed to radiation due to nuclear accident or terrorist threat and to treat cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy and who consequently have compromised immune systems. The award includes $295,252 for the first year and $300,000 for the second year of the project.
Dr. Denis O. Rodgerson, Director of Stem Cell Science for NeoStem, said, "We are very excited to add radiation treatment to the growing list of indications for which our VSEL(TM) Technology is being evaluated. Those exposed to acute high-dose radiation have compromised immune systems such that the virulence and infectivity of biological agents is dramatically increased. Death can occur within 1-6 weeks following radiation exposure. Currently there is only one intervention that saves a fatally irradiated person -- a rescue through stem cell transplantation. VSELs might be an ideal cell therapy to regenerate the body's immune system and repair other tissues damaged by radiation exposure. Most importantly, early studies show VSELs are resistant to lethal radiation which destroys other immune system restoring stem cells in the body, making autologous treatment post-exposure possible."
Dr. Robin L. Smith, Chairman and CEO of NeoStem, added, "NeoStem is pleased that the NIAID is funding this cutting edge technology that we hope will reinvent the treatment landscape for acute radiation syndrome. We plan to continue to pursue NIH SBIR grants to fund our VSEL technology platform development with non-dilutive capital."