NASA teams with Pluristem for cell therapy space program

NASA will conduct studies assessing Pluristem’s placental-derived cell therapies in astronauts who are planning space travel.

NASA’s Ames Research Center has been awarded a 2019 NASA Ames Research Innovation Award (ARIA) to look at how Pluristem Therapeutics’ cell therapies can tackle serious medical conditions during travels in space.

“During space missions, astronauts are exposed to a challenging environment, which could lead to serious medical conditions, including muscle atrophy,” Efrat Kaduri, a spokesperson from Pluristem, told BioProcess Insider.

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“Given the promising results we’ve seen to date with our products, we believe our cell therapy could help provide a solution for overcoming certain space-related challenges.”

The Israeli regenerative medicine firm is currently conducting a Phase III study in muscle regeneration and is about to begin an additional Phase III study in radiation-related injuries.

“As background, functional tissue loss characterizes a variety of devastating diseases and can be caused by age, disease pathology and lifestyle. Similarly, the gravity-free environment astronauts experience can cause up to 20% muscle loss in as little as 5-11 days in space,” said Kaduri.

“The work NASA will be initiating closely correlates with our late-stage clinical programs and we are excited to see the potential use of our cell therapy products in space.”

NASA will fund and conduct all the studies to assess the impact of Pluristem’s candidates.

Pluristem’s cell therapies

Pluristem’s PLacental eXpanded (PLX) candidates are based on placenta-derived, mesenchymal-like adherent stromal cells administered to patients without the need for HLA-matching.

“Cell therapies have been developed for the purpose of introducing cells into the body to prompt the regeneration and restoration of compromised or damaged tissue for a variety of indications, including hematologic conditions, cancer, autoimmune disease and diseases that degrade tissues throughout the body,” said Kaduri.

“Previous studies have demonstrated placenta-derived cell therapies to be safe, highly potent and ethically accepted, making them optimal for the discovery and development of potentially paradigm-shifting cellular therapies.”

Pluristem has designed its platform to create therapeutic candidates that enable superior regeneration of damaged tissue, as well as targeting comorbidities associated with acute and chronic conditions, she added.

The firm uses its own 3D manufacturing platform to make its candidates, based on tightly controlled, completely automated, efficient and scalable technology.

According to the firm: “Our proprietary bioreactor system which provides a three-dimensional micro-environment for our cells that resembles the environment in the human body. As a result, our cells expand rapidly and remain healthy and potent as we alter conditions within our bioreactors to transform them into unique, patented cell therapy products.”

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