heartNeuralstem (CUR) will sponsor stem cell research at the China Medical University & Hospital of Taiwan. The work will help prepare for a human clinical trial using Neuralstem’s human spinal cord neural stem cells to treat patients who have suffered a stroke.

The patient population will be limited to those whose post-stroke symptoms (complete or partial paralysis) have stopped improving more than six months after an ischemic stroke.

Neuralstem uses its proprietary Human Neural Stem Cell technology to develop CNS drug candidates. Its technology isolates CNS stem cells from tissue and then expands each cell in vitro up to a billion billion times (60 doublings), while controlling the differentiation of the cells into relevant human neurons and glia.

“The preclinical program, which we expect will take between nine months to a year, will focus on qualifying our existing cGMP (Good Manufacturing Process) spinal cord cells into a human trial program to treat post-stroke symptoms in Taiwan,” said Richard Garr, Neuralstem President & CEO in a statement.

Neuralstem uses its stem cell technology to target major central nervous system diseases including Ischemic Spastic Paraplegia, Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury, Huntington’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). It has submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) filing with the FDA to begin clinical trials in the US of its technology in ALS patients.

Neuralstem and China Medical University established an ALS-focused research project last year. ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain, leading to the degeneration and death of the motor neurons in the spinal cord that control muscle movement. Dr. Shinn-Zong Lin, MD, PhD is a principal investigator in both of the Neuralstem-China Medical programs.

Ischemic stroke, the target of the newer research, is caused by a blockage in a vessel supplying blood to the brain. It is the most common type of stroke and affects more than 400,000 people in the United States yearly. There are about 6.5 million stroke survivors in the US.

Neuralstem was founded in 1996 by Karl Johe, PhD, who remains the company’s Scientific founder and Chairman. While at NINDS, NIH, Dr. Johe developed Neuralstem’s technology.

Source: Seeking Alpha