Athersys, Inc., a Cleveland-based
biopharmaceutical company pursuing cell therapy programs in cardiovascular
disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases, funded the research in which
about 200,000 cells were injected directly into the brain injury site.
The adult stem cells, called multipotent
progenitor cells because of their ability to make different types of tissue,
were taken from the bone marrow of rats and expanded by Athersys for dosing
in the injury model, Dr. Carroll says.
Seven days after injury, stem cells were
injected directly into the brains of 22 animal models through a tiny hole in
the skull. As with human transplant recipients, the animals were placed on
immunosuppressive therapy to avoid rejection, although Athersys' experience
in multiple animal models for human disease has shown donor-recipient
matches and immunosuppression are not required.
Behavioral tests seven days after transplant
showed a trend toward recovery and significant recovery by day 14. About 1
percent to 2 percent of the transplanted cells actually survived, apparently
replacing some cells destroyed by the original injury, while others helped
injured cells recover.