ImStem Biotechnology Inc. announced it has successfully treated an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS) using human embryonic stem cells (hESC) derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), called hES-MSCs.
MS is a chronic neuroinflammatory disease with no cure. Most current MS therapies offer only palliative relief without repairing damaged nerve cells. MSCs may reduce neuroinflammation and promote nerve cell regeneration in MS.
Now researchers from ImStem, in collaboration with University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) and Advanced Cell Technology Inc., have developed a novel therapy to treat MS with hES-MSCs. They found that hES-MSCs are more effective in treating animal model of MS than MSCs from bone marrow of adult human donors (BM-MSC). This work is published in the online edition of Stem Cell Reports, the official journal of International Society for Stem Cell Research.
“The beauty of the new hES-MSCs is their consistently high efficacy in MS model. This is a big surprise when we found that most BM-MSC lines show poor or no efficacy. Additionally, BM-MSCs but not hES-MSCs express high level of IL-6, a proinflammatory cytokine can worsen the disease. This definitely adds more advantages to hES-MSCs, which are younger, purer and only express the right factors,” said the lead author Dr. Xiaofang Wang, CTO of ImStem.
“These great advantages perfectly match the requirements for safety and quality control of clinical-grade MSCs as a potential therapy for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis,” said Dr. Ren-He Xu, the corresponding author, CSO of ImStem and professor of the University of Macau.
Dr. Joel Pachter, a UCHC collaborator, observed fluorescently labeled hES-MSCs but not BM-MSCs effectively penetrated the blood brain barrier and migrated into inflamed spinal cord. He remarked, “This difference is extraordinary as it could hold a key to the therapeutic action(s) of hES-MSCs. MSCs might require access to specific sites within the central nervous system in order to remediate disease.”
“This was unexpected as bone marrow MSCs are widely believed to be effective in this EAE animal model. Our data indicate that the use of BM-MSCs is highly variable and there may be a previously unrecognized risk of poor outcome associated with IL-6 produced by these cells,” said Dr. Stephen Crocker, another UCHC collaborator.
Date; June 5, 2014
Source: ImStem Biotechnology