CLEVELAND, Ohio — Two grants worth $10 million will push two stem-cell technologies deeper into clinical trials, while advancing research on a series of other additional, nascent stem cell projects throughout Greater Cleveland.
The initial grant is $5 million from Ohio’s Third Frontier Program to the Center for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine, and an additional $5 million will be matched through project participants. The center’s members include Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and the local biopharmaceutical company Athersys.
Some of the grant money will go to Athersys to perform a Phase II clinical trial on MultiStem, an adult stem cell therapy to help victims of heart attacks, strokes and a complication of bone marrow transplants.
Also, Cleveland biopharmaceutical start up Juventas Therapeutics, meanwhile, will receive funds to move its product, stromal cell derived factor 1 (SDF-1), into a Phase I trial to see how it combats a severe form of peripheral artery disease that blocks and reduces blood flow in lower parts of the body.
The grant also creates the state’s first Pluripotent Stem Cell Facility within the Clinic and Case Western that will produce those types of stem cells, which can then create any kind of fetal or cell type.
Additionally, center researchers will use the funding to work with:
- Lentigen, a Maryland gene delivery company, to develop a gene therapy approach to treating brain tumors.
- Oakwood Laboratories, a Cleveland area drug delivery company, to treat arthritic disease.
- Orthopediatrics, an Indiana orthopedic company focused on children, to create an approach that releases a certain amount of a drug that tells a patient’s cells to create cartilage.
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals, in Massachusetts, to evaluate the potential of a cell in the adult human brain to treat neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injuries.
The grant will also fund a series of early-stage research projects. Cell Targeting, a Cleveland stem cell start up, will try using its technology to direct umbilical cord blood stem cells to specific locations in the body to increase cell dosage and improve growth within the body.
Also, researchers at Case and Cleveland Clinic will work on new ways to take images of cancer stem cells using radiolabeled tracers.