StemCells, Inc. has announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Frank LaFerla, Ph.D., a world renowned leader in Alzheimer’s disease research, to study the therapeutic potential of the Company’s HuCNS-SC® human neural stem cells in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. LaFerla’s published research has shown that mouse neural stem cells enhance memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. The goal of this collaboration is to replicate these results using the Company’s human neural stem cells.
“This collaboration is a natural evolution of Dr. LaFerla’s pioneering research, and will build on the promising results we have seen to date in other preclinical studies of our cells in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Stephen Huhn, MD, FACS, FAAP, Vice President and Head of the CNS Program at StemCells, Inc.
Huhn continued, “Our growing human clinical database already includes a favorable safety profile in fatal neurodegenerative disorders as well as proof of engraftment of our HuCNS-SC cells in the brain. Consequently, we will be well positioned for rapid advancement into clinical testing in Alzheimer’s disease following successful results from this research collaboration.”
Dr. LaFerla, Director of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), and Chancellor's Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior in the School of Biological Sciences at UCI, stated, “Novel treatment approaches for Alzheimer’s disease are urgently needed. From what we have seen to date, we believe that neural stem cells may hold the key to impacting the course of this debilitating disease, and we look forward to working with StemCells to explore this exciting prospect.”
Research conducted to date provides a strong rationale for the use of neural stem cells as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to Dr. LaFerla’s groundbreaking research with mouse neural stem cells, which was published in August 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), StemCells has separately conducted studies of its HuCNS-SC cells in another Alzheimer’s model as part of a previous collaboration with George Carlson, Ph.D. at the McLaughlin Research Institute.
This research, which was funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer grant, demonstrated that StemCells’ HuCNS-SC cells are capable of surviving in the hostile environment reflective of an Alzheimer’s brain, which characteristically features abnormal accumulations of brain lesions called plaques and tangles that contribute to loss of function in healthy neurons.