Today's Pluristem announcement included the following statement concerning a preclinical investigation of PLX cells in treating -- in the words of Thomson Reuters, 'Pulmonary fibrosis; where a person`s lungs become so scarred that breathing is impossible.' The investigation was conducted by Dr. Bernard Thebaud of the University of Alberta.
"In this animal model, mice treated with PLX cells showed approximately a 70% statistically significant decrease in collagen protein deposition in the lungs, in comparison to the control treated group. This significant reduction in collagen deposition, attributed to the PLX treatment, emphasizes the potential of PLX to treat the devastating pathogenic endpoint of pulmonary fibrosis. The effect of PLX on the collagen deposition also resulted in an improved lung capacity as represented by increased weight gain and improved oxygen saturation in the treated mice as compared to the control group."
Your guess is as good as ours as to what that first sentence means. Whatever it actually means, the video below from the same researcher at the University of Alberta suggests other types of cells do pretty much the
"Pluristem Therapeutics' New Indication for Pulmonary and Lung
Disorders Expands Blockbuster Pipeline"
Pluristem has a proprietary bioreactor that it suggests gives it a cell expansion advantage over other companies seeking to market an allogeneic, off-the-shelf stem cell therapeutic product. And its bioreactor well may provide it a manufacturing advantage at this stage, although other companies, including Athersys, are also working on the bioreactor approach. Its bioreactor, however, does not speak to the superiority of its cells and affiliated growth factors which must yet be demonstrated through trials. Here is what Pluristem says about its technology (From their website):
"PLX cells are mesenchymal-like adherent stromal cells (ASCs) derived from full term placenta. The cells are expanded in the company's proprietary bioreactor system, which provides a three dimensional (3D) microenvironment that enables full control over the manufacturing process, large-scale growth of these cells and batch to batch consistency. PLX cells are immune privileged and possess immunomodulatory properties.
Pluristem fully owns its patent portfolio which includes 18 granted patents and 71 pending applications in 12 patent families. Based on the well established understanding that the characteristics and therapeutic potential of a cell product are largely determined by the source of the cells and by the methods and conditions used during their manufacturing process, Pluristem's portfolio includes multilayered claims on the various unique aspects of PLX (PLacental eXpanded cells)."
The following video was placed on YouTube in 2010. We are not sure when it was made. Here, Dr. Bernard Thebaud talks about his research on correcting lung trauma resulting from ventilator use on premature babies for an indication not largely different from that indicated in the PLX investigation. In the test indicated in the video Dr. Thebaud used mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow.
Pluristem currently has $42 million in cash and essentially no debt so they are armed to go forward on several fronts. Cash burn has been around $11 million but may well increase as clinical trials take hold.