NEW YORK, July 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NeoStem, Inc. (NYSE MKT:NBS) ("NeoStem" or the "Company"), a leader in the emerging cellular therapy market, today announced that the Company has executed agreements with the University of California, San Francisco and the laboratories of Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, and Qizhi Tang, PhD, to collaborate on the development of human Regulatory T cells ("Tregs") for the treatment of type 1 diabetes ("T1D"), steroid resistant asthma, and organ transplant rejection. This collaboration advances NeoStem's role in the development and commercialization of immunomodulatory cellular therapeutic products for the treatment of intractable diseases involving the immune system. "Worldwide, type 1 diabetes affects over 340 million people, and has an economic cost of over $174 billion in the U.S. alone. Severe asthma affects another 60 million people," said Dr. Robin L. Smith, Chairman and CEO of NeoStem. "Our collaboration with Drs. Bluestone and Tang, industry leaders in Treg research, and UCSF represents a significant advance in the development of our Athelos technology platform." Dr. Bluestone is the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, UCSF and is a leader in the field of Tregs and immunotherapy of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Bluestone has published over 400 articles on T cell biology and activation, and regulation and control of normal and pathogenic immune responses. Dr. Tang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and has been working with Dr. Bluestone for over a decade on the clinical application of Tregs in autoimmunity and organ transplantation. This collaboration advances NeoStem's Treg program towards a clinical Phase 2 trial to evaluate the efficacy of autologous Tregs in T1D. Under the agreements NeoStem will manufacture a Treg product consisting of polyclonally expanded Tregs for the planned Phase 2 trial to treat patients newly diagnosed with T1D and will collaborate with Dr. Bluestone on allo-specific Tregs for organ transplant tolerance in another Phase 2 study. Additionally, NeoStem plans to sponsor a Phase 1a/2b study on the use of Tregs for the treatment of steroid resistant asthma. The collaboration includes the research effort to develop the next generation of Treg products for therapeutic use.