HAIFA, Israel, May 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PLTR), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, announced today its PLacental eXpanded (PLX) cells tested in preclinical animal models of preeclampsia effectively improved several parameters of the disease. The study was conducted in collaboration with Brett Mitchel PhD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) of the Texas A&M College of Medicine. Dr. Mitchel will present details of the study on May 30 th at the Society for Gynecological Investigation Summit in Jerusalem. Preeclampsia is the most common medical complication of pregnancy and a leading cause of premature births, stillbirths and early neonatal and maternal deaths. If left untreated, it can develop into eclampsia, the life-threatening occurrence of seizures during pregnancy. The only known treatment for eclampsia or preeclampsia is abortion or delivery. The disease occurs in previously healthy women after their 20 th week of pregnancy and symptoms include high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine. According to the World Health Organization, preeclampsia occurs in approximately 6-8% of pregnancies worldwide. It is estimated that preeclampsia costs the global health care system $3 billion annually. May was recognized as National Preeclampsia Awareness Month by U.S. Congresswomen in an effort to improve outcomes for women and babies. Since preeclampsia is a human pregnancy specific disease, defined as the occurrence of hypertension and significant proteinuria, Dr. Mitchell has established and published two preeclampsia rodent models that exhibits the fundamental features of preeclampsia; pregnancy dependent hypertension and proteinuria. PLX cells administered IM were tested against cell-free medium in these two preeclampsia animal models. Pregnant mice that developed gestational hypertension and proteinuria and received PLX cells demonstrated several positive physiologic, immunologic and histologic findings indicating that PLX cells could be effective in treating preeclampsia.