World's first stem cell bandage in human clinical trials

November 14, 2011

The company behind a pioneering stem cell bandage, believed to be the world's first adult and autologous (patient's own) stem cell treatment designed to heal torn meniscal cartilage, can now take the technology to human clinical trials thanks to an investment from one of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs.

Mr Hugh Osmond, a partner of Sun Capital -- who helped build Pizza Express into the UK's largest sit-down restaurant chain and founded one of the country's largest pub companies, the Punch Group -- has completed a £0.65 million funding round for Azellon Cell Therapeutics Ltd, the University of Bristol spin-out company behind the therapy that has to date raised £2.25 million.

The company, which has received approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the world's first clinical trial using its Cell Bandage product, is funded by existing investors IP Group plc, the developer of intellectual property based businesses -- and Oxford Technology Management as well as new investors including lead funder, Mr Osmond.

Azellon's Cell Bandage has been designed as an alternative to the current treatment of surgical removal of the meniscus (meniscectomy), a procedure that more than 1.7 million people around the world per year are estimated to undergo. This common orthopaedic procedure often results in the early onset of osteoarthritis, leading to further joint surgery including total knee replacement.

The Cell Bandage, which in vitro (tissue culture) has shown great promise for the healing of meniscal tears, is grown from the patient's own stem cells and will be transplanted in the patient's knee joint within two weeks of extracting the stem cells from bone marrow.

The MHRA approved Phase I/IIa trial will treat ten meniscal tear patients with a cell bandage product, seeded with the patient's own stem cells. The trial will be undertaken at Southmead Hospital in Bristol and is scheduled to begin in May 2012 with interim data available within 18 months.

Azellon is co-founded by Professor Anthony Hollander at the University of Bristol, who came to national prominence as part of the academic team that saved the life of Claudia Castillio, after developing the first tissue-engineered trachea (windpipe) using the patient's own stem cells. This fully functioning airway was transplanted into the patient and saved her life.

Professor Anthony Hollander, Chief Scientific Officer of Azellon Cell Therapeutics Ltd and Head of the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bristol, said: "With permission for a trial from MHRA and completion of this funding round, we are now ready to get going on our safety trial; it's an important moment for Azellon and for stem cell research."

Alan Aubrey, CEO of IP Group plc, said: "Azellon's stem cell bandage is targeted at a very large and growing market with a clear medical need and we are pleased to support the company as it moves into its Phase I/IIa trial."

Hugh Osmond, who has a medical degree from Oxford University, said: "As a keen sportsman who has had multiple knee operations myself, I believe that this procedure has the potential to be a major breakthrough in treating knee and eventually other joint injuries. For many of the 1.7 million people a year who have operations to repair torn knee cartilage, it could be the difference between an active old age or spending their pension years in a wheel chair. I am very excited."
-end-


University of Bristol

Related Stem Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

SUTD researchers create heart cells from stem cells using 3D printing
SUTD researchers 3D printed a micro-scaled physical device to demonstrate a new level of control in the directed differentiation of stem cells, enhancing the production of cardiomyocytes.

More selective elimination of leukemia stem cells and blood stem cells
Hematopoietic stem cells from a healthy donor can help patients suffering from acute leukemia.

Computer simulations visualize how DNA is recognized to convert cells into stem cells
Researchers of the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW - The Netherlands) and the Max Planck Institute in Münster (Germany) have revealed how an essential protein helps to activate genomic DNA during the conversion of regular adult human cells into stem cells.

First events in stem cells becoming specialized cells needed for organ development
Cell biologists at the University of Toronto shed light on the very first step stem cells go through to turn into the specialized cells that make up organs.

Surprising research result: All immature cells can develop into stem cells
New sensational study conducted at the University of Copenhagen disproves traditional knowledge of stem cell development.

The development of brain stem cells into new nerve cells and why this can lead to cancer
Stem cells are true Jacks-of-all-trades of our bodies, as they can turn into the many different cell types of all organs.

Healthy blood stem cells have as many DNA mutations as leukemic cells
Researchers from the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology have shown that the number of mutations in healthy and leukemic blood stem cells does not differ.

New method grows brain cells from stem cells quickly and efficiently
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a faster method to generate functional brain cells, called astrocytes, from embryonic stem cells.

NUS researchers confine mature cells to turn them into stem cells
Recent research led by Professor G.V. Shivashankar of the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore and the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Italy, has revealed that mature cells can be reprogrammed into re-deployable stem cells without direct genetic modification -- by confining them to a defined geometric space for an extended period of time.

Researchers develop a new method for turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, have for the first time succeeded in converting human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells by activating the cell's own genes.

Read More: Stem Cells News and Stem Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.