Public Release:  Limbs saved by menstrual blood stem cells

BioMed Central

Cells obtained from menstrual blood, termed 'endometrial regenerative cells' (ERCs) are capable of restoring blood flow in an animal model of advanced peripheral artery disease. A study published today in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Translational Medicine demonstrates that when circulation-blocked mice were treated with ERC injections, circulation and functionality were restored.

Critical limb ischemia, an advanced form of peripheral artery disease, causes approximately 150,000 amputations per year in the US. Currently there are no medical or surgical interventions that are effective in the advanced stages of the disease. ERCs are cells taken from menstrual blood that are capable of forming into at least 9 different tissue types, including heart, liver and lung. Their discovery won the 'Medicine Research Award of the Year' award for BioMed Central's Research Awards in 2007.

Dr. Michael Murphy, a vascular surgeon from Indiana University and lead author of this study has already performed clinical trials with adult stem cells for patients with peripheral artery disease. He stated, "The advantage of ERCs is that they can be used in an 'off the shelf' manner, meaning they can be delivered to the point of care, do not require matching, and are easily injectable without the need for complex equipment."

The experiments were performed as a collaboration between University of Western Ontario, Scripps Research Institute, Indiana University, and several other academic centers. The ERC cell population is currently being developed by the US publicly traded company Medistem Inc, who supported these studies.

"We are proud of assembling such a strong, clinically experienced team to contribute to these studies" said Dr. Thomas Ichim, CEO of Medistem. "Dr. Ewa Carrier and Suman Kambhampati are hematologists who use stem cells on a regular basis, Dr. Angle is a vascular surgeon, who like Dr. Murphy sees CLI on a daily basis, and Dr. Amit Patel has performed numerous cardiac stem cell clinical trials. With such a team that understands not only the science, but also the practical implementation, we feel we are well positioned to translate this discovery into a practical therapy in the near future".

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Notes to Editors

  1. Allogenic Endometrial Regenerative Cells: An "Off the Shelf Solution" For Critical Limb Ischemia?
    Michael P Murphy, Hao Wang, Amit N Patel, Suman Kambhampati, Niren Angle, Kyle W Chan, Annette M Marleau, Andrew Pyszniak, Ewa Carrier, Thomas E Ichim and Neil H Riordan Journal of Translational Medicine (in press)

    During embargo, article available here: http://www.translational-medicine.com/imedia/1126625791206242_article.pdf?random=216886
    After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.translational-medicine.com/

    Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

    Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

  2. Journal of Translational Medicine is an open access, peer-reviewed online journal focussing on information derived from human experimentation so as to optimise the communication between basic and clinical science.

  3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.

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