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TEL AVIV, March 24 (Reuters) - Israel-based BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics said on Monday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company a key patent for its autologous stem cell technology.
The patent covers BrainStorm's stem cells induced to secrete elevated levels of neurotrophic factors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Pending approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the company is preparing for its upcoming mid-stage Phase II trial in the United States with its NurOwn adult stem cell therapy.
BrainStorm is developing NurOwn for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Separately, the company said it has signed a definitive agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to conduct a Phase II clinical trial of NurOwn in ALS, pending FDA approval. The other two clinical sites slated for the trial are the University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital and Mayo Clinic.
"The recent bill introduced to the U.S. Senate to support regenerative medicine research is yet another indication of the increasing recognition that stem cells hold the promise for curing life-threatening and debilitating conditions like ALS," said Chaim Lebovits, BrainStorm's president.
"We are very encouraged by the bill's proposal to appoint a council that would develop and maintain a national strategy for the promotion of regenerative medicine research and development." (Reporting by Tova Cohen)