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StemCells (STEM) Collaboration advances Alzheimer’s disease Program

Apr. 18, 2011 2:15 PM ET
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STEM entered into collaboration with Frank LaFerla, PhD, a world renowned leader in Alzheimer’s disease research, to study the therapeutic potential of its HuCNS-SC(R) human neural stem cells in Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Dr. LaFerla’s research has shown that mouse neural stem cells enhance memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease which was published in 8/09 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  

STEM has conducted studies of its HuCNS-SC cells in another Alzheimer’s model as part of a previous collaboration with George Carlson, PhD at the McLaughlin Research Institute. This research, which was funded by a NIH Small Business Technology Transfer grant, demonstrated that HuCNS-SC cells are capable of surviving in the hostile environment reflective of an Alzheimer’s brain, which characteristically features abnormal accumulations of brain lesions called plaques and tangles that contribute to loss of function in healthy neurons.

The Bottom Line: The goal of this collaboration is to replicate these results using human neural stem cells. Research conducted to date provides a strong rationale for the use of neural stem cells as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. This collaboration and STEM’s growing human clinical database already includes a favorable safety profile in fatal neurodegenerative disorders as well as proof of engraftment of HuCNS-SC cells in the brain. Dr. LaFerla is Director of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), and Chancellor’s Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior in the School of Biological Sciences at UCI.

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