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Oct 1, 2012

Stem Cell-Modifying Antibodies for Regenerative Therapies

  • Stem cell therapeutics firm Medistem and Superview Biotechnology signed a collaboration centered on the use of Medistem’s stem cell lines to screen for monoclonal antibodies with potential in regenerative medicine. Superview is a subsidiary of China’s Yinhuan Holding, which is exploiting a technology for generating monoclonal antibodies against highly defined targets.

    The aim of the collaboration is to identify monoclonal antibodies that modulate the activity of stem cells that are already present in the body, in effect, taking an alternative tack to approaches based on developing stem cells-derived therapeutics. “To date, the majority of stem cell companies are focusing on the stem cell itself being a product,” explains Thomas Ichim, Medistem CEO. In contrast, he claims, using monoclonal antibodies to target endogenous stem cells “not only provides methods of activating stem cells but also allows for the development of stem cell adjuvant therapies that could be used to resurrect stem cell candidates that failed in clinical trials.”

    And it's an approach that Superview claims could more readily yield promising regenerative therapies. “Our opinion is that the barriers to entry for monoclonal antibody-based therapies modulating endogenous stem cells is lower than stem cell-based therapeutics," adds Jiong Wu, Superview’s CEO.

    Medistem is focused on the development of adult-stem cell therapeutics. Its lead program is centered on the use of endometrial regenerative cells (ERCs), a "universal donor"-type stem cell derived from menstrual blood. The firm claims this stem cell type can differentiate into nine tissue types, produces large quantities of growth factors, and exhibits a large proliferative capacity. In June a clinical study was initiated in China to evaluate ERCs in the treatment of critical limb ischemia, an advanced form of peripheral artery disease. Also during June, Medistem reported positive safety data from the first five patients enrolled in the Recover-ERC trial, which is evaluating ERCs in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

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