StemCells Inc says spinal injury therapy shows promise


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Nov 18 StemCells Inc said its experimental stem cell therapy improved the functioning and strength of limbs in patients with spinal cord injuries, becoming the second company to report promising data on the treatment for such injuries.

The biotech company said interim results from the mid-stage study showed four of six patients experienced an improvement on two different scales.

The Newark, California-based company has been developing stem cells derived from tissues and modified to multiply into nerves to treat different indications.

Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc showed in August that its lead stem-cell therapy could improve mobility in patients paralyzed by a spinal cord injury.

StemCells' research centers around the treatment for spinal cord injuries, visual problems that begin at the retina and other degenerative diseases related to the nerves.

While StemCells and Asterias hope to treat patients who are paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, they differ in two aspects.

Asterias uses stem cells derived from embryos and hopes to treat patients soon after the injury. StemCells, on the other hand, uses stem cells derived from mature tissue and treats patients 10 months after the injury.

StemCells Inc said on Wednesday there were no serious adverse events reported in the study.

Chief Financial Officer Greg Schiffman told Reuters that the company's critical window was the next two years. "In a year from now, our goal would be to complete the enrolment in the study and get final results in 2017," he said.

He also said the company was looking for a partner to fund studies on the treatment for a degenerative disorders. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)