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First Minimally-Invasive Procedure Performed In Mesoblast's Phase 2 Stem Cell Trial For Lumbar Disc Repair

MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Regenerative medicine company, Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB), today announced that the first minimally-invasive lumbar disc procedure had been successfully performed in the Phase 2 clinical trial of its proprietary adult Mesenchymal Precursor Cell (MPC) product for the treatment of low back pain and degenerative disc disease. The outpatient procedure lasted less than 20 minutes, with the patient fully awake and under light sedation. The patient was shortly discharged and there were no complications.

The procedure was undertaken by leading spine surgeon, Kenneth Pettine, M.D., at the Spine Institute and Loveland Surgery Center in Colorado, a United States Spine Center of Excellence. Dr Pettine is a founder of the Spine Institute, an international leader in non-fusion surgery of the spine, and the co-inventor of Medtronic's Maverick artificial lumbar disc device.

"This marks the third renaissance in spine care," Dr Pettine said. "The first was improved diagnosis using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), the second was end-stage replacement with artificial discs, and now there is the potential widespread use of adult stem cells for disc repair and regeneration."

Up to 15 percent of people in industrialized countries have chronic low back pain lasting more than six months.  For those with progressive, severe and debilitating pain due to ongoing progression of disc degeneration, the only option is major back surgery involving artificial disc replacement or spinal fusion.  Both types of surgery are associated with significant risks, and the avoidance of surgery is a major objective of new treatments for degenerative disease of the spine.

In preclinical trials, a single minimally invasive injection of Mesoblast's allogeneic MPCs into severely damaged intervertebral discs resulted in significant reversal of the degenerative process, regrowth of disc cartilage, and sustained normalization of disc pathology, anatomy and function for at least six months.

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