NEW YORK, March 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NeoStem, Inc. (Nasdaq:NBS) ("NeoStem" or the "Company"), a leader in the emerging cellular therapy industry, today announced that it has signed an agreement for a research collaboration investigating the potential of very small embryonic-like stem cells ("VSELs™") in treating difficult to heal wounds in an animal model of scleroderma. The collaboration is funded in part by a previously announced $147,765 grant from the Small Business Innovative Research Program for the "Development of Adult Pluripotent Very Small Embryonic Like (VSEL) Stem Cells to Treat Skin Wounds in Scleroderma" from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases ("NIH-NIAMS").* The collaboration will be headed by Denis O. Rodgerson, Ph.D., Director of Grants and Academic Liaison of NeoStem, and Dr. Vincent Falanga, M.D., The Barbara A. Gilchrest Professor of Dermatology and Professor of Biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine. The study will employ the tight skin ("Tsk") mouse to test the potential wound healing capabilities of autologous VSELs™ in treating difficult to heal skin ulcers characteristic of this disease. Depending on the results of the study, the Company may qualify for up to an additional $1.5 million phase 2 grant for the indication from NIH-NIAMS. Preliminary data from Dr. Falanga's earlier research using a preclinical mouse model of severe complex wounds suggest that human VSELs TM may be more effective in accelerating healing than are mesenchymal stromal cells. That data showed that 14 days after treatment, mice treated with 2,500 human VSELs TM experienced a significantly greater percentage of wound re-epithelialization (covering with skin) than did those treated with either 500,000 human mesenchymal stromal cells or a control. "We are encouraged by the data from Dr. Falanga's lab suggesting VSEL™ effectiveness in wound healing," said Dr. Robin Smith, Chairman and CEO of NeoStem. "The possibility that our research collaboration could advance treatments that one day could help patients suffering from scleroderma and chronic wounds is very exciting."