In 2007, a team of researchers at the Bio-Communications Research Institute in Wichita identified a potentially rich source of stem cells in the uterine endometrial lining. They demonstrated that these ‘Endometrial Regenerative Cells’ (ERC) can be grown into at least 9 different types of cell lines, including cardiac, hepatic, pleural, respiratory epithelial, adipocytic, osteogenic, pancreatic, and neurocytic cells.
Medistem Inc. (MEDS.OB), one of our Sector companies, has a business plan that is constructed around the eventual economic viability of applications derived from these cells the source of which is menstrual blood.
Now, in a study published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Translational Medicine and partially funded by Medistem, researchers have demonstrated that when circulation-blocked mice are treated with ERC injections, circulation and functionality are restored.
Critical limb ischemia, an advanced form of peripheral artery disease, causes approximately 150,000 amputations per year in the US. Currently there are no medical or surgical interventions that are effective in the advanced stages of the disease.
Dr. Michael Murphy, a vascular surgeon from Indiana University and lead author of the study has already performed clinical trials with adult stem cells for patients with peripheral artery disease. "The advantage of ERCs is that they can be used in an 'off the shelf' manner," he said, "meaning they can be delivered to the point of care, do not require matching, and are easily injectable without the need for complex equipment."
Adapted from the Medistem announcement through EurekAlert.