MultiStem, a Spinal Cord Injury Stem Cell Therapy, Athersys (ATHX)
The joint spinal cord injury study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience: “Multipotent Adult Progenitor Cells Prevent Macrophage-Mediated Axonal Dieback and Promote Re-growth after Spinal Cord Injury.”
- The study, supports the potential therapeutic benefit of MultiStem® for spinal cord injury and demonstrates for the 1st time that an adult stem cell is capable of modifying multiple aspects of the wound response following a spinal cord injury, concurrently altering the inflammatory response to mitigate secondary injury in the central nervous system and increasing the regenerative potential of the damaged neurons.
Certain adult adherent stem cells are known to have immunomodulatory capabilities, but their potential to inhibit this detrimental inflammation-related process in spinal cord injury had not been investigated.
- Researchers observed that administration of Multipotent Adult Progenitor Cells (MAPC) following spinal cord injury in rodent models prevented the retraction of neurons, a process referred to as “axonal dieback,” reduced inflammation in the region of injury and also promoted the re-growth of neurons;
- Using preclinical models of spinal cord injury, MAPC can both dynamically regulate macrophages, which cause inflammatory damage and stimulate neuron growth simultaneously;
- Results demonstrate that MAPC convey meaningful therapeutic benefits after spinal cord injury and provide specific evidence that these adult stem cells can exert both positive immunomodulatory and neurotrophic influences;
- MAPC significantly decrease the release of a harmful protein called MMP-9 (matrix metalloproteinase-9), made by certain cells of the immune system known as macrophages, that is known to induce axonal dieback;
- MAPC also induce a shift in macrophages from an M1, or “classical activated” pro-inflammatory state, to an M2, or “alternatively activated” anti-inflammatory state;
- In addition to these effects on macrophages, MAPC promote sensory neurite outgrowth beyond the site of the injury, induce sprouting, and further enable axons to overcome the negative effects of macrophages as well as inhibitory molecules in their environment by increasing their intrinsic growth capacity.
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health’s, Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Brumagin–Nelson Fund for Spinal Cord Injury Research, National Institutes of Health Training, the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program and Athersys.
- Significant research remains before ATHX can apply these methods in human therapy.
ATHX closed up $0.32 (11.90%) on 1/19/11 with a stock price of $3.01 and a market cap of 56.98M.