Israeli technology aims to use stem-cells to repair neurological damage such as that which results from Parkinson’s disease.
The technology was developed at Tel Aviv University and is being used by BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, which has established an Israeli subsidiary tocommercialize it. The patent-pending technology, called NurOwn, is based on discoveries made by Professor Eldad Melamed, head of Neurology at Rabin Medical Center, and expert cell biologist Dr. Daniel Offen, at the Felsenstein Medical Research Center of Tel-Aviv University – together with their research teams.
The technology enables the differentiation of bone marrow-derived stem cells into functional neurons and has already been demonstrated successfully on animals. BrainStorm is developing cell-therapy products with adult stem cells to be used in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. They are initially focusing on the development of bone marrow derived neural-like cells for the treatment and rehabilitation of those suffering from Parkinson`s disease.
``Our company has chosen to focus on autologous cell therapies, which use cells from the patients` own bone marrow to repair a physical dysfunction, since we believe that this approach may circumvent many of the safety hurdles and ethical controversies involved in competing stem cell research,`` said Yaffa Beck, President and CEO of BrainStorm Therapeutics.
Although the debate over stem-cell research has gotten quite heated in the United States, due to Christian views on the matter, the use of stem-cells taken during the first 40 days of the embryonic stage is much less problematic according to Jewish law. During its recent conference in Jerusalem, the Orthodox Union emphasized its support, “consistent with Orthodox rabbinic teaching, for the continuation of and public funding for cutting-edge biotechnology research, including embryonic stem-cell research.”
Published: 17:36 December 15, 2004
Last Update: 17:44 December 15, 2004