BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. (OTCBB: BCLI) announced that it has received the first installment of the 2012 grant from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) in the amount ofapproximately $350,000. The yearly grant for 2012 is $ 1,100,000 (~4.2 M NIS). The grant is awarded to BrainStorm’s Research and Development program towards the development of NurOwn therapy for ALS using autologous adult stem cells.
BrainStorm is in Phase I/II human clinical trials in Israel with NurOwn, BrainStorm’s adult stem cell therapy in patients with ALS (often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The study is conducted at the Hadassah Medical Center and is headed by principal investigator Dimitrios Karussis, M.D., Ph.D., of the Hadassah Medical Center, together with a scientific team from BrainStorm headed by Prof. Eldad Melamed.The interim results for the first 12 patients
“The OCS grant will enable BrainStorm to continue its clinical program and accelerate its development of new CNS indications” said Chaim Lebovits, President of Brainstorm. “I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Adrian Harel on the occasion of his promotion by the Board of Directors as CEO of Brainstorm.
BrainStorm’s core technology, NurOwn, is based on the scientific achievements of Professor Eldad Melamed, former Head of Neurology, Rabin Medical Center, and Tel-Aviv University, and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and Professor Daniel Offen, Head of the Neuroscience Laboratory, Felsenstein Medical Research Center (FMRC) at the Tel-Aviv University.
The NurOwn technology processes autologous adult human mesenchymal stem cells that are present in bone marrow and are capable of self-renewal as well as differentiation into many other cell types. Adult human bone marrow cells are induced to differentiate into astrocyte-like cells capable of releasing neurotrophic factors, including glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) by means of a specific differentiation-inducing culture medium. The ability to induce differentiation into astrocyte-like cells along with intramuscular or intrathecal (or other) delivery makes NurOwn technology a potentially highly attractive method for treating ALS and Parkinson’s disease as well as MS and spinal cord injury.