This past Wednesday was Stem Cell Awareness Day, a day that is meant to remind us all of the importance of stem cell research and the potential it has to treat a wide variety of diseases. On this day, we also released an independent Economic Impact Report that showed how $10.7 Billion (yes, you read that right) was generated as a direct result of the the legacy we have built as a state agency that funds groundbreaking research.
Aside from the monetary incentive, which is an added bonus, the research we fund has made encouraging progress in the scientific field and has demonstrated the positive impact it can have on various disease areas. This week, two clinical trials supported by CIRM funding have released very promising updates.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. has presented positive results for a clinical trial related to a treatment for duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder. DMD leads to progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to its effect on a protein called dystrophin, which helps keep muscle cells intact.
The treatment that Capricor is testing is called CAP-1002 and consists of a unique population of cells that contain cardiac progenitor cells, a type of stem cell, that help encourage the regeneration of cells. CIRM funded an earlier clinical trial for this treatment.
The early results of this current trial describe how teens and young men in the advanced stages of DMD saw improvements in skeletal, lung, and heart measurements after receiving multiple doses of the treatment.
In a news release, Dr. Linda Marban, Chief Executive Officer of Capricor, expresses optimism for this clinical trial by saying,
“We are very pleased that the interim analysis from this double-blind placebo-controlled study, has demonstrated meaningful improvements across three clinically relevant endpoints in older patients with limited remaining treatment options.”
In the same news release, Dr. Craig McDonald, the national principal investigator for the trial, echoes the same sentiment by stating,
“The results from this trial to date are very promising in that the cells appear to positively impact skeletal, pulmonary and cardiac assessments in older DMD patients who have few, if any, remaining treatment options. We are eager to meet with the FDA to discuss the next steps for this promising program.”
Mantle Cell Lymphoma
Additionally, Oncternal Therapeutics has decided, because of positive results, to open an expansion of its CIRM-funded clinical trial aimed at treating patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). The treatment involves an antibody called cirmtuzumab, named after us, in combination with a drug called ibrutinib.
The preliminary results were from the first six patients with MCL that were treated in the trial. One patient with MCL, who had relapsed following an allogeneic stem cell transplant, experienced a confirmed complete response (CR) after three months of cirmtuzumab plus ibrutinib treatment. This complete response appears to be sustained and has been confirmed to be ongoing after completing 12 months of the combination treatment. A second confirmed complete response occurred in a patient who had progressive disease after failing several different chemotherapy regimens, bone marrow transplant and CAR-T therapy.
In a news release, Dr. Hun Lee, an investigator in the trial, states that,
“It is encouraging to see that the drug has been well tolerated as well as the early signal of efficacy of cirmtuzumab with ibrutinib in MCL, particularly the rapid and durable complete responses of the heavily pre-treated patients after three months of therapy, which is an unusually fast response in this patient population.”
4 thoughts on “Encouraging Progress for Two CIRM Supported Clinical Trials”
My sister suffered from an anoxic brain injury 15 years ago and is in a persisant vegetative state. We would like to use her for stem cell research for other victims in a similar condition. What steps are to be taken to possibly make this happen as we miss our sister/ daughter as many other people do with their own suffering family members. Let’s get them out of their realm and back into ours.
Dear Abaigh, thanks for your comment and I am so sorry to hear about your sister. I can only imagine how painful that must be for the whole family. Right now there is a lot of research targeting traumatic brain injury but nothing that is yet ready to be tested in people in clinical trials. Obviously we hope that will change soon but for now there is little that can be done to help your sister.
I have been looking for a trial for stroke recovery withbstem cells I am either too old or my stroke was too long ago. Please keep me in mind if there are trials that are recruiting right now
Dear Marie, there are many others like you who are looking to stem cells to help them recover from a stroke. If we fund any more clinical trials targeting that we will certainly publicize it on our blog.