ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aastrom Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASTM), the leading developer of patient-specific expanded multicellular therapies for the treatment of severe chronic cardiovascular diseases, today announced that results from two separate research studies involving ixmyelocel-T, the company's lead product candidate, were published in the peer reviewed journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy. Results from the first study, "Ixmyelocel-T, an Expanded Multicellular Therapy, Contains a Unique Population of M2-Like Macrophages", show that ixmyelocel-T contains M2-like macrophages characterized by expression of multiple, well-known M2 macrophage markers, decreased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines after inflammatory stimuli, and efficient removal of apoptotic cells. The population of macrophages generated in ixmyelocel-T is believed to play a role in tissue repair and regeneration. "Our data demonstrate that ixmyelocel-T therapy contains a unique population of M2-like macrophages characterized by secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines and expression of M2 markers CD206 and CD163. In addition to being involved in efficient removal of apoptotic cells, they also show elevated expression of MerTK, which is essential in limiting tissue injury and promoting repair. These findings provide further indication that these cells may play a key role in the treatment of diseases where tissue remodeling and immunomodulation are components of successful clinical outcomes," said Dr. Ronnda Bartel, chief scientific officer, Aastrom Biosciences. "We believe that this research also represents the first successful ex-vivo expansion of these anti-inflammatory cells." In the second study, titled "Potential Beneficial Effects of Ixmyelocel-T in the Treatment of Atherosclerotic Diseases", ixmyelocel-T was treated with modified low-density lipoprotein (LDL) similar to that found in atherosclerotic plaques. The amounts of LDL uptake and expression of cytokines and key cholesterol transport genes were then measured in an attempt to mimic the pro-inflammatory environment in atherosclerotic lesions. The results of these analyses showed that ixmyelocel-T macrophages are able to influx modified cholesterol, remain anti-inflammatory in the face of lipid loading and inflammatory challenge, and display enhanced cholesterol efflux capabilities.