Medistem Inc. announced today positive safety data from the first 5 patients enrolled in the Non-Revascularizable IschEmic Cardiomyopathy treated with Retrograde COronary Sinus Venous DElivery of Cell TheRapy (RECOVER-ERC) trial. The clinical trial uses the company’s “Universal Donor” Endometrial Regenerative Cells (ERC) to treat Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).
According to the study design, after 5 patients enter the trial, they must be observed for a two month time period before additional patients are allowed to enter the study. Patient data was analyzed by the study’s independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), which concluded that based on lack of adverse effects, the study be allowed to continue recruitment.
“Medistem is developing a treatment for CHF that uses a 30-minute catheter-based procedure to administer the ERC stem cell into the patients’ hearts. The achievement of 2 month patient follow-up with no adverse events is a strong signal for us that our new approach to this terrible condition is feasible,” said Thomas Ichim, CEO of Medistem.
The RECOVER-ERC trial will treat a total of 60 patients with end-stage heart failure with three concentrations of ERC stem cells or placebo. The clinical trial is being conducted by Dr. Leo Bockeria, Chairman of the Backulev Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery, in collaboration with Dr. Amit Patel, Director of Clinical Regenerative Medicine at University of Utah.
“As a professional drug developer, I am very optimistic of a stem cell product that can be used as a drug. The ERC stem cell can be stored frozen indefinitely, does not need matching with donors, and can be injected in a simple 30-minute procedure into the heart,” said Dr. Sergey Sablin, Vice President of Medistem and co-founder of the multi-billion dollar NASDAQ company Medivation.
Currently patients with end-stage heart failure, such as the ones enrolled in the RECOVER-ERC study, have no option except for heart transplantation, which is limited by side effects and lack of donors. In contrast to other stem cells, ERC can be manufactured inexpensively, do not require tissue matching, and can be administered in a minimally-invasive manner. Animal experiments suggest ERC are more potent than other stem cell sources at restoring heart function. The FDA has approved a clinical trial of ERC in treatment of critical limb ischemia in the USA.