It’s being hailed as a medical miracle. Pluristem Therapeutics’ patented PLX stem cells have saved yet another life. The 54 year old woman was diagnosed with lymphoma back in 2008 and through a chemotherapy regimen the cancer went into remission in 2009. Doctors harvested stem cells from her bone marrow at that time. Unfortunately, the cancer returned to her spinal cord in 2011. This time the cancer was treated with both chemotherapy and radiation and resulted in bone marrow damage. The doctors tried to introduce her own stem cells back into her marrow but she did not respond to the treatment. Alternate treatments failed as well. She developed a condition called Pancytopenia, which occurs when the body suffers a dramatic lowering of red and white blood cells and platelets.
This is when doctors at Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem applied to use Pluristem cells under the Israeli government’s compassionate use program. They applied the stem cells intramusculary in two treatment a week apart. The woman not only was able to get out of isolation, she was released from hospital! “This is a real breakthrough – the woman was in isolation due to low white blood cells and high susceptibility to infections and in addition her red blood cells and platelets were low, leading to a very dangerous and life-threatening situation,” said Professor Reuven Or, Director of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cancer Immunology at Hadassah Medical Center. “Further, autologous bone marrow transplantation that she received engrafted poorly, and as a last resort, we applied for a compassionate treatment using Pluristem’s PLX cells based on our previous experience with those cells. The treatment with PLX has saved her life and can certainly be classified as a medical miracle,” added Dr. Reuven Or. “The result of this unique case demonstrates that PLX cells could potentially be effective for use in cancer patients, who receive bone marrow transplantation following severe radiation and chemotherapy treatments, which severely damage their bone marrow.” Back in May of this year, a 7 year old girl was saved through the same process for a condition called aplastic bone marrow.
Pluristem Therepeutics is an Israeli company that develops placenta based cell therapies. The PLX (PLacental eXpanded) cell is created using a propietary system that basically harvests stem cells from full term placentas, which would otherwise be considered medical waste. They have recently applied for Orphaned Drug Status with the FDA in the U.S. This is a special program that the FDA has which assists drug companies in developing drugs for rare diseases where fewer than 200,000 cases are confirmed and where recovering development costs would be difficult.
For more information about Pluristem, visit their website at http://www.pluristem.com.