Neuralstem’s Cells Induce Improvement In Acute Spinal Cord Injury Rats, UCSD Study Shows
Neuralstem, Inc. (NYSE MKT: CUR) announced that a paper published today in the journal, STEM CELL RESEARCH AND THERAPY, showed that rats transplanted with its spinal cord-derived human neural stem cells, NSI-566, three days after a spinal cord injury at L3 (lumbar 3), showed improvement along several measures of motor function and a reduction of spasticity. The study, “Amelioration of Motor/Sensory Dysfunction and Spasticity in a Rat Model of Acute Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury by Human Neural Stem Cell Transplantation,” was led by principal investigator, Martin Marsala, MD, of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
The study demonstrated that intraspinal grafting of NSI-566 cells during the acute phase of a spinal cord injury could represent a safe and effective treatment that ameliorates post-injury motor and sensory deficits. Based on the rat data, such cell therapy in humans may provide both qualitative and quantitative benefits and lead to significant long-term improvement of the structural integrity of a trauma-injured spinal cord.
“This paper is the latest from our collaborators at the UC San Diego School of Medicine to show that our cells provide benefit in spinal cord injury models,” said Karl Johe, PhD, Neuralstem Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer and a study author. “Dr. Marsala’s lab first demonstrated that NSI-566 transplantation in rats paralyzed due to ischemia in the cord led to improved ambulatory function. This was followed by demonstration of motor neuron rescue by these cells in a rat model of ALS. The researchers also used the same cells in normal healthy rats and pigs to demonstrate the safety of the cells, which were subsequently used in humans in our Phase I ALS trial. In September, another UC San Diego study independently showed that NSI-566 cells, transplanted into rats with a complete transection at T3 (thoracic 3), were able to form functional relays with the host spinal cord. This study now demonstrates the potential effectiveness of NSI-566 cells in treating acute spinal cord injury.
“UC San Diego has done pioneering work in this area,” Dr. Johe went on. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with them as one of the centers in our upcoming spinal cord injury trial.”
“The fact that spinally-injured animals receiving spinal grafts of human spinal stem cells showed a functional improvement in the paw placement, reduction in muscle spasticity and injury-cavity filling effect by grafted cells, is very encouraging,” said Dr. Marsala, senior study author and a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.