Fremont-based Asterias Biotherapeutics announced last week that the sixth and final SCI patient in its current phase 1/2a trial has also experienced motor function improvements at six months following administration of the company's embryonic stem cell therapy AST-OPC1. The patients enrolled at this stage of the clinical trial, all quadriplegics, received a dose of 10 million cells within 14-30 days following their injury. Six medical centers in the U.S., including San Jose-based Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, are participating in these trials. The company is moving forward with plans to expand that to 12 facilities that would enroll up to 35 patients as the trials advances to the next stage that involves dose of 20 million cells.
The good news thus far involves not only the improvements in their upper extremity motor function but also the lack of any signs of rejections or adverse effects from the dose. The trials, for now, will continue to focus on newly-injured SCI cases at the cervical levels of C5-C7.