ROCKVILLE, Md., July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Neuralstem, Inc. (NYSE MKT: CUR) announced that the seventeenth patient was treated in the ongoing Phase I trial of its spinal cord neural stem cells for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). This patient is also the second to return to the trial for additional injections. In this treatment, the patient received five injections in the cervical (upper back) region of the spinal cord, in addition to the ten he had previously received in the lumbar (lower back) region, for a total of 15 injections. The final previously treated patient of this cervical cohort is expected to return to the trial in August, provided the inclusion requirements continue to be met. This ground-breaking stem cell trial is taking place at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
"We are pleased that this phase of the trial, in which we have been permitted by the FDA to take the unprecedented step of dosing patients for the second time, is progressing as planned," said Karl Johe, PhD, Neuralstem's Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer. "These are the first patients in the world to receive our cells in both the lumbar and cervical regions of their spinal cords, where the stem cell therapy could support both walking and breathing."
About the TrialThe Phase I trial to assess the safety of Neuralstem's spinal cord neural stem cells and intraspinal transplantation method in ALS patients has been underway since January 2010. The trial is designed to enroll up to 18 patients. The first 12 patients were each transplanted in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine, beginning with non-ambulatory and advancing to ambulatory cohorts. The trial then advanced to transplantation in the cervical (upper back) region of the spine. The first cohort of three was treated in the cervical region only. The current cohort of three is receiving injections in both the cervical and lumbar regions of the spinal cord. In an amendment to the trial design, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the return of previously treated patients to this cohort. The second of these returning patients was just treated. The entire 18-patient trial concludes six months after the final surgery.