HAIFA, Israel, July 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PLTR), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, announced today that the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has recommended to Pluristem that NIAID expand the scope of its ongoing animal research using PLX-RAD cells for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome (ARS). As previously announced on July 26, 2012, Pluristem accepted NIAID's invitation to submit PLX-RAD cells to the agency for this indication. Subsequently, NIAID's contract facilities have been studying the use of PLX-RAD cells on irradiated animals' hematological systems. NIAID has now recommended that the institute expand the focus of its work to better understand the mechanism of action for dose optimization. NIAID's initial work on the use of PLX-RAD cells included a screening assay examining the thirty-day survival of irradiated rodents given PLX-RAD or vehicle as a control. In this study mice were exposed to either 853, 872 or 904 cGy of total body gamma irradiation and injected intramusculary with two doses of two million PLX-RAD cells per dose or vehicle on days 1 and 5 following radiation (n=49-53 mice/group). Thirty-day survival was significantly increased in mice treated with PLX-RAD cells (p<0.0001) for all radiation doses. Overall survival time was also significantly increased in these mice (p=0.0004). "We are extremely pleased that the positive animal results obtained from NIAID have prompted them to recommend extending and expanding the scope of their investigation towards developing our PLX-RAD cells as a potential treatment for ARS," said Zami Aberman, Chairman and CEO of Pluristem. "Additionally, we believe the data generated from this collaboration will be very helpful in developing PLX-RAD for the indication of bone marrow failure following radio or chemotherapy."