May 29, 2024

Adult stem cells begin clinical trials

The Boston Globe has profiled the financial and therapeutic potential of adult stem cell treatments being developed by Osiris Therapeutics, a company in Baltimore. Osiris currently has three therapies in human trials and recently raised US$50 million in funding, double what it anticipated.

Its products are an anti-rejection therapy for leukaemia patients, regrowing meniscus in damaged knees, and replacing tissue damaged by heart attacks. The company now has enough funds to run three clinical trials, after overcoming scepticism in the market and a multi-million lawsuit with a former CEO.

The scientists conducting the trial are enthusiastic about their potential. “Unbelievably significant,” says Dr Alan Levine, a former director of the blood disease program of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health. “One of the most exciting innovations in heart attack therapy,” says Dr Joshua Hare, who is running Osiris’s Phase I trial for heart repair. Every 10 or 20 years, there is a brand-new insight. I would say that what is happening with stem cell therapy for these chronic diseases is sort of the new insight for the 21st century.”