NEWARK, Calif., Oct. 10, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) today announced that two papers reporting clinical and preclinical data demonstrating the therapeutic potential of the Company's proprietary HuCNS-SC® cells (purified human neural stem cells) for a range of myelination disorders were published in the Oct. 10 edition of Science Translational Medicine, the peer review journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science ( http://stm.sciencemag.org/ ).
The paper by Gupta, et al. describes the encouraging results of the Company's Phase I clinical trial in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a genetic myelination disorder that afflicts children. In the trial, which was completed in February 2012, four patients were transplanted with the Company's HuCNS-SC cells and all showed preliminary evidence of progressive and durable donor cell-derived myelination. Three of the four patients showed modest gains in their neurological function, which suggests a departure from the natural history of the disease; the fourth patient remained stable. Although clinical benefit cannot be confirmed in a trial without control patients, the small but measureable gains in function at one year may represent signals of a clinical effect to be further investigated in a controlled trial with more patients.
The second of the two papers, by Uchida, et al., summarizes extensive preclinical research which demonstrated that transplantation of the Company's neural stem cells in an animal model of severe myelin deficiency results in new myelin which enhanced the conductivity of nerve impulses. Myelin is the substance that insulates nerve axons, and without sufficient myelination, nerve impulses are not properly transmitted and neurological function is impaired. This preclinical data provided the rationale for the PMD clinical trial and supports the Company's cell therapy approach to other myelination disorders, such as transverse myelitis, certain forms of cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis.