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Pluristem's PLX Cells Reduce Fibrotic Processes

Potential to Address Multi-Billion Markets Where Fibrosis is End Stage of Inflammatory Process

Data to be Presented at the Israel Society for Placenta Research Conference

HAIFA, Israel, Oct. 17, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PLTR), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, today announced that a reduction of fibrotic processes has been demonstrated in preclinical and in in-vitro studies using Pluristem's Placental eXpanded (PLX) cells. Lena Pinzur MSc, Pluristem's Basic and Preclinical Research Manager will present data at the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Israel Society for Placenta Research on October 18, 2012.

"Demonstrating that our PLX cells can potentially act as potent anti-fibrotic agents positions us to penetrate several multi-billion dollar markets where fibrosis is the end stage of an inflammatory process," said Zami Aberman, Chairman and CEO of Pluristem. "We will continue our research into this important characteristic of our cells that will enable us to add the prevention of fibrosis to our growing list of indications for our PLX cells."

Fibrosis, defined as the overgrowth, hardening, and/or scarring of various tissues as the end result of chronic inflammation, can result from a variety of stimuli that includes chronic infections, autoimmune reactions, allergic responses, chemical and radiation insults, radiation, and other causes of tissue injury. Fibrosis can occur in virtually any organ, including the heart, liver, kidney and lung. The fibrotic reaction is attributed to an excessive deposition of extracellular matrix components including collagen and fibronectin. 

The basis for Pluristem's hypothesis that PLX cells act as anti-fibrotic agents comes from animal models given Bleomycin, an anti-cancer agent, known to induce pulmonary fibrosis and widely used to study the mechanisms involved in fibrogenesis. Bleomycin induces chromosomal DNA strands to break, which results in pulmonary inflammation and subsequent fibrosis. 

In the experiments, 8-10 week old male mice were randomized to receive Bleomycin alone or Bleomycin plus PLX cells administered into the trachea. Mice that received only Bleomycin served as controls. Pertinent results at 21 days include a statistically significant improvement in oxygen saturation (p<0.05), monitored on a weekly basis during the study and a significant reduction in the collagen (p <0.001) deposition in the lungs when examined histologically. This information may suggest that the PLX cells are reactive to the fibrotic environment.

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