The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) has awarded BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics a $2.1 million grant to support the development of NurOwn, an innovative mesenchymal stem cell-based platform to treat neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
NurOwn was developed by Tel Aviv University professors Dani Offen and the late Eldad Melamed.
NurOwn builds on research developing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a treatment for human diseases. MSCs are multipotent precursor cells that exist in many tissues in the body. Most commonly, they are obtained from bone marrow, adipocytes (fat cells), or placenta cells.
MSCs were first used during bone marrow transplants, but researchers realized they could be used to halt the immune system in various ways. Researchers began studying MSCs as potential treatments for immune and inflammatory diseases.
NurOwn’s MSCs are also secretors of neurotrophic factors (NTF), which are involved in the growth, survival, and differentiation of neurons. These cells, called MSC-NTF, are designed…