LONDON The first stroke patient treated with
Biocompatibles International Plc's BII.L experimental stem
cell therapy has shown no side effects following surgery, the
company said on Tuesday, sending its shares up 10 percent.
The 49-year-old man is the first of 20 people to be treated
in the Phase I/II Trial aimed at showing the therapy is safe
for men and women who have had severe strokes, Biocompatibles
Chief Executive Crispin Simon told Reuters.
He stressed in a telephone interview these were not results
from the trial but only an instance of one patient who had done
"What we are looking for is to see if this treatment is
well tolerated," Simon said in a telephone interview. "This is
not a scientific announcement."
While the man regained an ability to speak and his
paralysis disappeared following treatment, Simon added it was
not clear whether this was due to the experimental treatment
involving adult stem cells from a healthy donor.
This is because in addition to the new treatment the man
also had surgery to reduce pressure on his brain, a routine
operation for severe stroke patients which leads to a similar
recovery in about 10 to 20 percent of cases.
"This is not result of the trial," Simon said.
Researchers have long been looking for ways to repair the
brain damage from stroke, which can cause permanent disability.
Studies have shown that transplanting brain cells produced from
human embryonic stem cells have helped fix such damage in the
brains of rats.
In this case, researchers used a type of adult stem cells
obtained from a healthy donor which the team has programmed to
deliver a naturally occurring protein called GLP-1, known to
protect against the cell death in the brain following stroke.
If the safety trial meets its goal, Simon said the company
hopes to have a larger, randomized trial underway in 2010 with
potential regulatory approval coming as early as 2012.
Biocompatibles shares were up 10 percent, or 12 pence, at
(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by David Holmes)