HAIFA, Israel, Dec. 03, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (PSTI) (PSTI), a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapy products, today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a collaboration with Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima Global Medical Science Center. The purpose of the collaboration is to develop Pluristem's PLX-R18 cells for the treatment of Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS), and for morbidities following radiotherapy in cancer patients.
ARS is caused by exposure to dangerously high levels of radiation, such as could occur in a nuclear catastrophe, and incorporates potentially lethal damage to the gastrointestinal tract, lung, skin and bone marrow, as well as other systems. In this new collaboration PLX-R18 cells will be studied primarily as a potential treatment for radiation-induced damage to the skin, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. The parties intend to develop preclinical models of radiation damage in these tissues, and then use them in trials. Pluristem will contribute PLX-R18 cells and scientific knowledge, while Fukushima Medical University will conduct the studies, and provide the required resources.
The collaboration will proceed alongside research supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is studying PLX-R18 as a potential treatment for the hematologic component of ARS. Insufficient blood cell production by the bone marrow, which may be caused by various reasons including ARS and cancer treatments, can be life threatening because it may lead to hemorrhage, the inability to fight infection, and anemia.
Data from a preclinical study, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One, suggest that PLX-R18 cells, administered intramuscularly, may be a highly effective off-the-shelf therapy for bone marrow failure following total body exposure to high doses of radiation. The work with Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima Global Medical Science Center will further evaluate the efficacy of intramuscular administration for systemic treatment of ARS.
“The researchers at Fukushima have a strong interest in cell therapies that may offer a treatment for conditions caused by exposure to ionizing radiation. We are honored to work with the thought leaders in the field at Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima Global Medical Science Center to further develop PLX-R18 for ARS-related indications,” stated Pluristem CEO Zami Aberman.
“We anticipate that our work with Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima Global Medical Science Center will help to maintain the health of those involved in decommissioning the Fukushima reactors; the decommissioning process is estimated to take about 40 years. We hope that this collaboration can advance efforts to safeguard populations around the world from illness related to radiation exposure,” concluded Mr. Aberman.