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First Patient Dosed in Cervical Region in Stem Cell Trial

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:51am

/PRNewswire/ -- Neuralstem, Inc. announced that the first patient to receive stem cells in the cervical (upper back) region of the spine was treated on Friday in its ongoing trial to test the safety of its spinal cord neural stem cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease).

Patient 13 is the first in the trial to be dosed in this region. It is also the first time surgeons have gone into the gray matter of the cervical region. The initial twelve patients in the trial all received stem cell transplants in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spinal cord only. Details about the surgery and interviews with the doctors were highlighted in a story on CNN (11/22/11) and can be viewed at http://www.neuralstem.com/neuralstem-in-the-news.

"We conducted the first cervical area surgery into a patient in our ALS trial," said Eva Feldman, MD, PhD, Dr. Feldman, Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, the Director of Research of the ALS Clinic at the University of Michigan Health System and an unpaid consultant to Neuralstem. "The ultimate goal of transplanting cells into this region is to preserve or even enhance breathing capacity for the patients," Dr. Feldman explained. "This treatment is essential to improve the quality of ALS patient lives and potentially lengthen them."

"We are thrilled to have advanced to this crucial stage in our ALS trial, where we can deliver our cells to the cervical region, where they could possibly support life-sustaining functions," said Karl Johe, PhD, Neuralstem Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer. "Successfully intervening in the cervical region entails enhanced risk, but also the possibility of dramatically enhanced benefit to the patients.  We remain extremely indebted to the team at Emory, where the trial is being conducted and to the brave patients in our trial and their families."

About the Trial The Phase I trial to assess the safety of Neuralstem's spinal cord neural stem cells and intraspinal transplantation method in ALS patients has been underway since January 2010. The trial is designed to enroll up to 18 patients. All of the first 12 patients have been transplanted in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine. The trial has now progressed to the final six patients, all of whom will be treated in the cervical (upper back) region of the spine. The first patient in the cervical cohort was treated on November 18, 2011. The entire 18-patient trial concludes six months after the final surgery.

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