NEW YORK, March 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NeoStem, Inc. (NYSE MKT:NBS) ("NeoStem" or the "Company"), a leader in the emerging cellular therapy industry, today announced that it has been awarded the second year of a two year grant totaling $595,252 for the "Development of Human, Autologous, Pluripotent Very Small Embryonic Like (VSELs) Stem Cells as a Countermeasure to Radiation Threat", Grant Number 5R43AI098325-02 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This peer reviewed grant was awarded to support research to be headed by Denis O. Rodgerson, Ph.D., Director of Stem Cell Science for NeoStem and Mariusz Ratajczak, M.D., Ph.D., who is the head of the Stem Cell Biology Program at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville and co-inventor of VSEL TM Technology.
This award funds studies to investigate the potential of very small embryonic-like stem cells as a countermeasure to radiological and nuclear threat. The product candidate, which is an autologous stem cell therapy derived from the patient's own stem cells, will be developed to rescue patients who have been exposed to radiation due to nuclear accident or terrorist threat and to treat cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy and who consequently have compromised immune systems. The award included $295,252 for the first year and $300,000 for the second year of the project.
Dr. Denis O. Rodgerson, Director of Stem Cell Science for NeoStem, said, "We are very pleased that our research has met its interim requirements and been awarded its second year of funding. Those exposed to acute high-dose radiation have compromised immune systems such that the virulence and infectivity of biological agents is dramatically increased. Death can occur within 1-6 weeks following radiation exposure. Currently, there is only one intervention that saves a fatally irradiated person – a rescue through stem cell transplantation. VSELs might be an ideal cell therapy to regenerate the body's immune system and repair other tissues damaged by radiation exposure. Most importantly, early studies show VSELs are resistant to lethal radiation which destroys other immune system restoring stem cells in the body, making autologous treatment post-exposure possible."