Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc releases the latest update from its ongoing SCiStar study. Recent data indicates that implanting AST-OPC1 cells into the damaged area of the spinal cord may help hinder the formation of lesion cavities at the injury site.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from patients enrolled in the AST-OPC1 SCiStar Phase 1/2a clinical study suggests the following, per a media release from Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc:

Among the five AIS-A patients in the SCiStar study treated with 10 million AST-OPC1 cells (Cohort 2) who also received a serial MRI scan at six months of follow-up, the serial MRI scans at six months indicated no sign of lesion cavities in any patient. These fluid-filled cavities typically form by about 3 months following severe spinal cord injury and prevent significant recovery of motor and sensory function.

The three patients in Cohort 2 that have also completed 12 months of follow-up, serial MRI scans at 12 months continued to indicate no signs of lesion cavities.

All three AIS-A patients who received a low dose of 2 million cells (Cohort 1) in the SCiStar study also showed no sign of lesion cavities in any patient through 1 year of follow-up. All three patients are continuing long-term follow-up and will receive additional MRI scans annually.

“These new follow-up results based on MRI scans are very encouraging, and strongly suggest that AST-OPC1 cells have engrafted in these patients post-implantation and have the potential to prevent lesion cavity formation, possibly reducing long-term spinal cord tissue deterioration after spinal cord injury,” said Dr. Edward Wirth, Chief Medical Officer of Asterias, in the release.

[Source(s): Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc, PR Newswire]