On the news, Neuraltem's market capitalization began the trading day at $54M and ended at approximately $74 million after reaching $105M midday. After close of market, the company released a statement of its intention to carry out a public offering of shares.
In the study, rats with surgically transected spinal cords, which rendered them permanently and completely paraplegic, were transplanted with Neuralstem's spinal cord stem cells (NSI-566).
Neuralstem reports that the animals recovered significant locomotor function, regaining movement in all lower extremity joints, and that the transplanted neural stem cells turned into neurons which grew a "remarkable" number of axons that extended for "very long distances" over 17 spinal segments, making connections both above and below the point of severance. These axons reached up to the cervical region (C4) and down to the lumbar region (L1). They also appeared to make reciprocal synaptic connectivity with the host rat spinal cord neurons in the gray matter for several segments below the injury.
Re-transecting the spinal cord immediately above the graft abolished the functional gain, indicating that the regeneration of host axons into the human stem cell graft was responsible for the functional recovery.
The cells that Neuralstem contributed to the study, NSI-566, are the same cells used in the recently completed Phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). Neuralstem has also submitted an application to the FDA for a trial to treat chronic spinal cord injury with these cells.
Adapted from the Neuralstem announcement.