|New Study of Pluristem's PLX Cells To Commence; Pluristem's Phase I/II Muscle Injury Trial Successful|
|By Staff and Wire Reports|
|Monday, 03 February 2014 20:24|
Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSTI), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, today announced that the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), will commence a mechanism-of-action study of Pluristem's PLacental eXpanded RAD (PLX-RAD) cells for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome (ARS). The study aims to investigate the effect of PLX-RAD cells on body weight, blood count parameters, cytokine concentrations and bone marrow or spleen cellularity at various time points following the administration of PLX-RAD cells to animals receiving total body irradiation. The study is scheduled to begin in February 2014.
Following positive data from NIAID's first study of PLX-RAD cells on irradiated animals' hematological systems, Pluristem had announced on July 18, 2013 NIAID's intention to expand the scope of its PLX-RAD research. NIAID's initial work showed that the overall survival of irradiated rodents treated with PLX-RAD cells significantly increased compared to that of the control group.
"In this study, NIAID will expand the focus of its work to better understand the mechanism-of- action of PLX-RAD cells. We are pleased that NIAID has recognized the therapeutic potential of these cells in treating ARS," stated Zami Aberman, Chairman and CEO of Pluristem.
Pluristem has a preclinical hematology program in which the company is evaluating PLX-RAD cells in the treatment of bone marrow failure following radio- or chemotherapy. Data from the NIAID studies are expected to be beneficial to our hematology program.
ARS studies of PLX-RAD cells also have been conducted by Prof. Raphael Gorodetsky, lead investigator of the study and head of the Biotechnology and Radiobiology Laboratory at the Sharett Institute of Oncology at the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center. Those studies showed an up to four-fold increase in the survival rate of irradiated animals treated with PLX cells versus those treated with placebo, as well as improvements in additional parameters. The preclinical results for PLX-RAD cells have been published in peer reviewed journal PLOS ONE.
Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PLTR), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, 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).
An analysis of the macrostructure of the gluteal muscle using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) indicated an increase in muscle volume in those patients treated with PLX-PAD cells versus the placebo group. This efficacy endpoint was demonstrated in both PLX-PAD treated patient groups, with the group receiving the 150 million cell dose displaying a statistically significant superiority over the placebo group. Patients treated at the 150 million cell dose showed an approximate 300% improvement over the placebo in the analysis of muscle volume (p=0.004). Patients treated at the 300 million cell dose showed an approximate 150% improvement over the placebo in the change of muscle volume (p=0.19). The complete dataset that includes biopsy results and functional assessments will be presented at a medical conference once the final analyses are completed.
The study's Senior Scientist, Dr. Tobias Winkler of the Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Julius Wolff Institute Berlin, Charité -- Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Germany, commented, "I am very impressed with the magnitude of the efficacy results seen in this trial. PLX cells demonstrated safety and suggested that the increase in muscle volume could be a mechanism for the improvement of contraction force."
Zami Aberman Chairman and CEO stated, "This was a very important study not only for Pluristem but for the cell therapy industry in general. The study confirms our pre-clinical findings that PLX-PAD cell therapy can be effective in treating muscle injury. Having a statistically significant result for our primary efficacy endpoint is very encouraging and consistent with our understanding of the mechanism of action associated with cell therapy. Based on these results, we intend to move forward with implementing our strategy towards using PLX cells in orthopedic indications and muscle trauma."
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