HAIFA, Israel, Jan. 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PLTR), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, today announced top-line results from its Phase I/II clinical trial testing the safety and efficacy of PLacental eXpanded (PLX-PAD) cells in the treatment of muscle injury. The trial indicated PLX-PAD cells were safe and statistical significance was reached (p=0.0067) for the primary efficacy endpoint of the study, the change in maximal voluntary isometric contraction force of the gluteal muscle at six months after total hip replacement. Patients treated with PLX-PAD had a greater improved change of maximal voluntary muscle contraction force than the placebo group. These results provide evidence that PLX cells may be efficacious in the treatment of orthopedic injuries including muscles and tendons. This Phase I/II trial was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study conducted at the Orthopedic Clinic of the Charité University Medical School under the auspices of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI), Germany's health authority. The injured muscle studied was the gluteus medius muscle in the buttock. Total hip replacement surgery via the standard transgluteal approach necessitates injury of the gluteus medius muscle, and post-operative healing is crucial for joint stability and function. The 20 patients in the study were randomized into three treatment groups. Each patient received an injection in the gluteal muscle that had been traumatized during surgery. One group was treated with 150 million PLX-PAD cells per dose (n=7), the second was administered 300 million PLX-PAD cells per dose (n=6), and the third received placebo (n=7). The primary safety endpoint was clearly met, with no serious adverse events reported at either dose level. The study showed that PLX-PAD cells were safe and well tolerated. The primary efficacy endpoint of the study was the change in maximal voluntary isometric contraction force of the gluteal muscle at six months post-surgery. Efficacy was shown in both PLX-PAD treated patient groups, with the group receiving the 150 million cell dose displaying a statistically significant 500% improvement over the placebo group in the change of the maximal contraction force of the gluteal muscle (p=0.0067). Patients treated at the 300 million cell dose showed a 300% improvement over the placebo (p=0.18).