August 19, 2010 / 3:09 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 1-StemCells says tech shows promise in spinal injury

* Says human neural stem cells promising in animal studies

* Says plans to start clinical studies in 2011

* Shares up 37 pct

Aug 19 (Reuters) - StemCells Inc STEM.O said its proprietary human neural stem cells restored motor functions in mice being treated for chronic spinal injuries, sending shares of the biotechnology company up as much as 37 percent.

In the animal study, human neural stem cells were administered to mice after the end of acute trauma -- a chronic phase that typically goes on for several weeks or months following injury in humans.

“These exciting results demonstrate an expanded window of opportunity for human neural stem cell intervention in spinal cord injury,” the company’s Head of Central Nervous System Program Stephen Huhn said.

The Palo Alto, California-based company plans to start human trials on the product in 2011. StemCells shares, which had jumped about 8 percent when it said human neural stem cell improved vision in animal studies in mid-October last year, were up about 20 percent at $1.04 Thursday morning, on Nasdaq.

They touched a high of $1.19 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan, Rajarshi Basu in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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