Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Neostem to begin human clinical trial of VSEL stem cells

A new press release issued by the University of Michigan (UM) says that preparations are underway for the first human clinical trial involving the use of VSEL (very small embryonic-like) stem cells.

VSEL stem cells are manufactured by Neostem, a biotechnology company in New York. According to their website, VSEL stem cells are adult stem cells extracted from bone marrow tissue. Their preclinical studies suggest that VSELs are very similar to embryonic stem cells, as they have the capacity to differentiate into cells of all the three germ lineages. Furthermore,studies by researchers at the University of Michigan have shown that VSELs can be used to regenerate bone in a mouse model.

Robin Smith's, CEO of Neostem, talking about VSELs

Now, NeoStem and in collaboration with the UM plans to begin, the first human clinical trial of VSELs. The trial will be led by UM professors Russell Taichman and Laurie McCauley and by Neostem's director of grants and academic liaisons, Denis Rodgerson.

According to the press release, a total of 50 patients are expected to enrol within the following months. The UM researchers will be responsible for "design, patient care and data analysis" while NeoStem will be providing VSELs and the knowhow required for isolating them in the first place.

All candidates must need both a tooth extraction and a dental implant before enrolling. During the trial and prior to the tooth extraction, the UM researchers will extract cells from the patients and use Neostem technology to isolate VSELs. Then they will implant the VSELs in the extraction site. Supposedly, the stem cells will form bone tissue, which will be then analysed and replaced with a dental implant. The study will also have a control group, with the patients receiving their own cells instead of VSELs.

"We're taking advantage of the time between extraction and implant to see if these cells will expedite healing time and produce better quality bone, They are natural cells that are already in your body, but NeoStem's technology concentrates them so that we can place a higher quantity of them onto the wound site." said Taichman.

Neostem is currently running preclinical studies to examine the efficacy of VSELs in the treatment of the following conditions:
  • Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma
  • Osteoporosis and Bone Regeneration
  • Chronic Wound Healing
  • Sciatic Nerve Regeneration 
  • Radiation Exposure

You can read the press release here

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