America Stem Cell, Inc (ASC) today announced that it has been awarded an Advanced Technology Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health. This grant will be led by Dr. Leonard Miller, VP Preclinical Research at ASC, in collaboration with Dr. Larry Sherman at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Dr. Sherman’s lab has over 15 years of extensive experience in multiple models of demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), and in the application of these models to identify novel therapeutic approaches. Furthermore, the first-ever transplants of human NSCs into human patients for Batten Disease, a demyelinating disease that affects children, were at Dr. Sherman’s Institute (OHSU).

The studies outlined within the presently approved grant will examine the effect of ASC’s lead technology, ASC-101, in combination with neural stem cells in an experimental mouse model of MS. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheaths that cover nerve fibers. Degradation of these sheaths causes signals along the nerve fiber to slow down or even stop. Over 400,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with MS, and the number worldwide is 2.1 million. Presently there is no cure for MS. America Stem Cell has demonstrated that ASC-101 enhances the ability of stem cells to migrate to their target tissue. While most companies are concerned with the type of cells used for cell therapy (i.e the hardware), America Stem Cell addresses how to get the cells to go where they are needed most (i.e. the software). With this award, America Stem Cell will expand the potential for therapeutic application of ASC-101 with neural stem cells. According to Dr. Leonard Miller, the Co-Principal Investigator on the grant, “The successful combination of ASC-101 with neural stem cells would allow the treatment of not only MS but also potentially a number of other neurological disorders, such as traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease)”. America Stem Cell, Inc. is a clinical stage company that is in clinical trials at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for improving clinical outcomes for cancer patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This award enables America Stem Cell to expand the development of ASC-101 to yet another cell type. Lynnet Koh, CEO of America Stem Cell, noted, “The combination of ASC-101 with neural stem cells could synergistically enhance the therapeutic and regenerative capacity of these cells and most importantly provide an off-the-shelf, effective solution for nerve damage due to multiple types of injuries or diseases. ASC-101 is a transformative technology with the potential to improve clinical outcomes for patients undergoing a wide variety of cell therapies for the treatment of diseases such as graft versus host disease, diabetic complications, neurological disorders, and ischemic diseases such as myocardial infarctions, retinopathy and critical limb ischemia.”

America Stem Cell has established a number of collaborations examining the potential of ASC-101 to improve cell therapies for multiple clinical conditions using a wide variety of cell types.