Placenta-Based Stem Cells Increasing Healing of Damaged Tendons in Laboratory Animals


Pluristem Therapuetics, a regenerative therapy company based in Haifa, Israel, has used placenta-based stem cells to treat animal with tendon damage, and the results of this preclinical study were announced at a poster presentation at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) annual meeting in New Orleans.

Dr. Scott Rodeo of New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the principal investigator for this preclinical trial. His poster session showed placental-based stem cells that were grown in culture and applied to damaged tendons seemed to have an early beneficial effect on tendon healing. In this experiment, animal tendons were injured by treatments with the enzyme collagenase. This enzyme degrades tendon-specific molecules and generates tendon damage, which provides an excellent model for tendon damage in laboratory animals. These placenta-based cells are not rejected by the immune system and can also be efficiently expanded in culture. The potential for “off-the-shelf” use of these cells is attractive but additional preclinical studies are necessary to understand how these cells actually help heal damaged tendons and affect tendon repair.

“Although our findings should be considered preliminary, adherent stromal cells derived from human placenta appear promising as a readily available cell source to aid tendon healing and regeneration,” stated Dr. Rodeo.

“These detailed preclinical results, as well as the favorable top-line results we announced from our Phase I/II muscle injury study in January, both validate our strategy to pursue advanced clinical studies of our PLX cells for the sports and orthopedic market,” stated Pluristem CEO Zami Aberman.

Dr. Rodeo and his orthopedic research team at HSS studied the effects of PLX-PAD cells, which stands for PLacental eXpanded cells in a preclinical model of tendons around the knee that had sustained collagenase-induced injuries. Favorable results from the study were announced by Pluristem on August 14, 2013. Interestingly, Dr. Rodeo, the Principal Investigator for this study is Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College; Co-Chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at HSS; Associate Team Physician for the New York Giants Football Team; and Physician for the U.S.A. Olympic Swim Team.

Pluristem stem cell trial to treat muscle injury meets main goal | Reuters


Pluristem’s placental PLX-PAD cells produced show statistically significant improvement over placebo in the change of the maximal contraction force of the gluteal muscle

Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, has announced results from its Phase I/II clinical trial that examines the safety and efficacy of PLacental eXpanded (PLX-PAD) cells in the treatment of muscle injury.  This trial showed patients treated with PLX-PAD had a greater improved change of maximal voluntary muscle contraction force than the placebo group.  These results show that PLX cells may have the ability to improve muscle and tendon healing after orthopedic injuries.

This Phase I/II trial was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study conducted at the Orthopedic Clinic of the Charité University Medical School under the oversight of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI), Germany’s health authority.  The injured muscle studied was the gluteus medius muscle in the buttock. Total hip replacement surgery via the standard transgluteal approach necessitates injury of the gluteus medius muscle, and post-operative healing is crucial for joint stability and function.

The 20 patients in the study were randomized into three treatment groups. Each patient received an injection in the traumatized gluteal muscle that had been injured during hip replacement surgery.  One group was treated with 150 million PLX-PAD cells per dose (n=7), the second was administered 300 million PLX-PAD cells per dose (n=6), and the third received placebo (n=7).

The primary safety endpoint was clearly met, since patients showed no serious adverse events reported at either dose level.  In this study, PLX-PAD cells were safe and well tolerated.

The primary efficacy endpoint of the study was the change in maximal voluntary isometric contraction force of the gluteal muscle at six months after the surgery.  Efficacy was shown in both PLX-PAD treated patient groups, but the patients in the group who had received the 150 million cell dose displayed a statistically significant 500% improvement over the placebo group in the change of the maximal contraction force of the gluteal muscle (p=0.0067).   Patients treated at the 300 million cell dose showed a 300% improvement over the placebo (p=0.18).

The structure of the gluteal muscle was also evaluated by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  MRI analysis revealed an increase in muscle volume in those patients treated with PLX-PAD cells versus the placebo group.  This efficacy endpoint was demonstrated in both PLX-PAD treated patient groups, with the group receiving the 150 million cell dose displaying a statistically significant superiority over the placebo group.  Patients treated at the 150 million cell dose showed an approximate 300% improvement over the placebo in the analysis of muscle volume (p=0.004).  Patients treated at the 300 million cell dose showed an approximate 150% improvement over the placebo in the change of muscle volume (p=0.19).  The complete dataset that includes biopsy results and functional assessments and will be presented at a medical conferences in the future.

The study’s Senior Scientist, Dr. Tobias Winkler of the Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Julius Wolff Institute Berlin, Charité – Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Germany, commented, “I am very impressed with the magnitude of the efficacy results seen in this trial. PLX cells demonstrated safety and suggested that the increase in muscle volume could be a mechanism for the improvement of contraction force.”

Zami Aberman Chairman and CEO stated, “This was a very important study not only for Pluristem but for the cell therapy industry in general. The study confirms our pre-clinical findings that PLX-PAD cell therapy can be effective in treating muscle injury. Having a statistically significant result for our primary efficacy endpoint is very encouraging and consistent with our understanding of the mechanism of action associated with cell therapy. Based on these results, we intend to move forward with implementing our strategy towards using PLX cells in orthopedic indications and muscle trauma.”

The Stem Cell Blog

  • cells were safe and well tolerated
  • one group receiving a 150 million cell dose displaying a 500 percent improvement over the placebo group.
  • Patients treated with a 300 million cell dose showed a 300 percent improvement over the placebo.
  • An analysis of the gluteal muscle indicated an increase in muscle volume in those patients treated…versus the placebo group.

Pluristem stem cell trial to treat muscle injury meets main goal

TEL AVIV Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:07am EST

(Reuters) – Pluristem Therapeutics Inc said results from its early/mid-stage clinical trial indicated its placenta-derived stem cells for the treatment of muscle injury were safe and provided evidence the cells might be effective in treating orthopedic injuries.

\”Patients treated with PLX-PAD had a greater improved change of maximal voluntary muscle contraction force than the placebo group,\” Israel-based Pluristem said in a statement on Tuesday.

The trial was conducted at the Orthopedic Clinic of…

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