China: New Stem Cell Treatment for Ataxia

September 7th, 2011
in econ_news

stem-cell Econontersect: Ataxia is the name of a neurological disorder that involves gross lack of coordination of muscle movements.  (Wikipedia has descriptions of symptoms and possible causes.)  A report from China published in the peer reviewed Journal of Translational Medicine gives details of a new treatment that involves the combination of use of spinal cord blood-derived stem cells and physical therapy.  Thirty patients underwent the experimental procedure.  There were no placebo controls.

Follow up:

From PR Newswire (on GEI Asia/Pacific News Page):

The study was conducted at the Nanshan Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Medical College in China, and included the participation of Beike Biotechnology Company (, China's leading stem cell research and regenerative medicine company, and the San Diego biotech company Medistem, Inc. (MEDS.PK).

Dr. Shengqin Ye, CEO of Beike Biotechnology commented, "This is the first published study of the effects of adult stem cell treatments on patients with Hereditary Ataxia. The results should be enormously encouraging for those who suffer from this difficult condition. With the combination of stem cells and physical therapy, study participants showed significant and sustained improvement. We are cautiously optimistic that further study will validate the efficacy and safety conclusions we have drawn from the study data."

Thomas Ichim, CEO of Medistem (MEDS.PK) stated, "The results of this important new study add to the growing body of published clinical research that suggests the efficacy of adult stem cell therapies, and points to their even greater potential in the future. This study represents a significant step forward for both the scientific and patient communities, alike."

The study authors have recommended that double blind placebo controlled studies are needed to validate the efficacy, safety and long-term effects of the treatments.

Sources:  Wikipedia, GEI/PRNewswire and Journal of Translational Medicine

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