Pluristem announced that its "off the shelf" placental stem
cells will be the focus of upcoming talking at investor and medical
conferences. The company Pluristem is currently in Phase I trials assessing its
unique bio-reactor expanded placental stem cells for the treatment of critical
limb ischemia. In contrast to other therapies that use the patient’s own stem
cells (called autologous), the advantage of the "universal donor" or
"allogeneic" approach is that large numbers of cells can be generated according
to defined conditions. Additionally, universal donor cells can be administered
several times at a number that is limited only by the desire of the physician to
escalate the dose. In the autologous situation stem cells are usually taken
from the bone marrow, making it difficult to perform multiple extractions.

Pluristem will present at the International Society for
Cellular Therapy’s (ISCT) 16th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia some updates on
its ongoing programs.

"We recently reported interim top-line results from our
Phase I clinical trials demonstrating that PLX-PAD is safe, well tolerated and
had improved the quality of life of CLI patients in the studies," said Zami
Aberman, Pluristem’s chairman and CEO. "With PLX-PAD, we have the unique
opportunity to utilize a single source of cells, the placenta, to treat an
unlimited number of CLI patients. Our presentations at the ISCT Annual Meeting
and other conferences will highlight the potential of PLX-PAD as well as our
core technology that enables the cost-effective development of cell therapies
derived from the human placenta."

There are several other companies pursuing "universal
donor" stem cells. Medistem, the licensor of technologies used by Cellmedicine
has developed such a cell from the endometrium, called "Endometrial Regenerative
Cells" that are currently subject of an IND application for use in critical limb
ischemia. Athersys is using bone marrow derived universal donor stem cells for
treatment of heart failure. The most advancement in this area comes from the
company Osiris Therapeutics which also uses bone marrow derived cells to treat a
variety of conditions, although all are still in clinical trials.

In
the majority of cases universal donor cells are related directly or indirectly
to mesenchymal stem cells. These cells, originally discovered by Dr. Arnold
Caplan, express low levels of proteins that are seen by the immune system, thus
allowing them to be transplanted without matching. Additionally, they also
produce proteins that actively suppress the immune system from killing them. In
diseases associated with abnormal immunity mesenchymal stem cells have shown
promise. Cellmedicine has published on use of mesenchymal stem cells in
treatment of multiple sclerosis