HAIFA, Israel, Aug. 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc . (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PLTR), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, today announced it will initiate Phase II clinical trials in the United States in the first week of September 2012 to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its PLacental Expanded (PLX) cells in the treatment of Intermittent Claudication (IC), a subset of peripheral artery disease (PAD). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted the Company clearance to start the Phase II clinical trial in April of this year. Pluristem has already received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the trial protocol for five out of the eleven U.S. clinical site locations via its relationship with Western IRB, which has approved Pluristem's protocol. Site initiation will begin on September 5 th at Duke University Medical Center with other sites becoming active in the weeks following. Pluristem also plans to initiate sites in Europe and Israel in parallel to the eleven U.S. sites. Dr. Manesh Patel, the study's Lead Principal Investigator at Duke commented, "We are pleased to participate in the clinical trial process of this novel technology. Duke University Medical Center participated as a clinical site in Pluristem's Phase I/II trial using PLX-PAD cells in critical limb ischemia (CLI). We are excited to lead this next phase of trials exploring its potential use for the significant number of patients with peripheral artery disease." Pluristem's IC Phase II trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of two doses of PLX-PAD cells versus placebo, administered via intramuscular injections. The study protocol is comprised of approximately 150 patients with IC: Fontaine class IIb, Rutherford category 2-3. The primary efficacy end point of the trial is the change in the maximal walking distance from baseline during an exercise treadmill test. Secondary endpoints are hemodynamic and quality of life measurements. Safety parameters are also being assessed.