New findings suggest that placental cells may potentially treat damaged nerves possibly leading the way to new treatment for stroke patients.
The study results show that PLacental eXpanded (PLX) cells protect PC12 cells - an established model of various nerve cells including dopaminergic neurons - from death after oxygen and glucose deprivation. The protective effects of PLX cells were strongly correlated with the secretion of interleukin 6 (IL-6) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which are known to have neuroprotective effects in humans with injuries to the nervous system that can occur after events such as a stroke. The PLX cells are patented cells derived from the human placenta that release an array of therapeutic proteins in response to inflammation, hematological disorders, radiation damage, and ischemia.
The study, titled "Human PLacental eXpanded (PLX) mesenchymal-like adherent stromal cells confer neuroprotection to nerve growth factor (NGF)-differentiated PC12 cells exposed to ischemia by secretion of IL-6 and VEGF", was conducted jointly by researchers at Pluristem and Prof. Philip Lazarovici, Jacob Gitlin Chair in Physiology and Pharmacology at the School of Pharmacy Institute for Drug Research at the Hebrew University and co-authored by Prof. Ephraim Yavin of the Department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The study was supported by the Magnet program of Israel's Ministry of Economy. The paper was accepted for publication in the February, 2015 issue of Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Molecular Cell Research.
PLX cells are the brainchild of Haifa-based Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapy products. "Our findings suggest that PLX cells may potentially treat damaged nerves, and may corroborate and explain the mechanism that leads to one of our findings in our Phase I trial in critical limb ischemia. In that study, patients treated with PLX cells had a statistically significant reduction in pain as compared to their baseline. An earlier preclinical study, published in the journal Brain Research, showed that PLX cells may effectively treat ischemic stroke," stated Pluristem CEO Zami Aberman.
Aberman continued, "These latest findings also call to mind two earlier preclinical studies, which indicated that PLX cells may be an effective treatment for both neuropathic and inflammatory nerve pain, suggesting that PLX cells could be a potential treatment for chronic nerve pain resulting from conditions such as diabetic neuropathy."