HAIFA, Israel, March 15, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PLTR) and New York University (NYU) Medical Center today announced the formation of a partnership to study the use of Pluristem's proprietary placenta-derived PLX cells for the treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU). Weiliam Chen, R.Ph. Ph.D., Director of the Tissue Engineering Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery at NYU's Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Wound Healing Center, will be the principal investigator (PI) of these pre-clinical studies, which are the first step towards a future potential Phase II clinical study for treatment of DFU. An in vitro and a series of animal models will be used to evaluate the role PLX cells have in healing DFU. Through a novel academic-industrial collaborative research paradigm, these trials, with proposed support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be used as a bridge towards the potential treatment of patients with diabetic foot ulcers. "Diabetes affects over 170 million people worldwide and more than 20 million Americans with the prevalence expected to double by 2030. Chronic diabetic foot ulcers are the leading cause of lower extremity amputations," said Dr. Chen. "No new therapy for diabetic chronic wounds has been introduced into clinical use since 1998 and there is a critical unmet need for innovative therapies able to accelerate DFU healing, prevent amputation and reduce associated morbidity and mortality." The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that approximately 12% of patients afflicted with diabetes develop a foot ulcer. This translates into approximately 2.5 million patients with foot ulcers in the U.S. alone. "This partnership with Pluristem is important to developing an innovative advanced cellular therapy," added Dr. Chen. "Many diabetic patients have advanced atherosclerosis and have lower extremity vascular insufficiencies. Pluristem's PLX cells can stimulate angiogenesis, which is highly advantageous in treating diabetic chronic wounds. Besides, the PLX cells can directly address cellular impairment in diabetic wounds leading to tissue regeneration in the wound beds."