TEL AVIV, Oct 16 (Reuters) - BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics said the first patients have been enrolled in a late-stage trial of its treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at Massachusetts General Hospital and UC Irvine Medical Center in California.
The Phase 3 clinical trial is expected to include about 200 patients and will be conducted at six ALS clinical sites in the United States, Israel-based BrainStorm said on Monday.
The company is developing a treatment made from adult stem cells for patients with ALS, a neuro-degenerative disease. The treatment, called NurOwn, has been administered to 75 ALS patients in clinical trials in the United States and Israel.
The trial is supported by a $16 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which focuses on accelerating stem cell treatments.
The institute’s support “highlights the importance of addressing ALS unmet needs beyond currently available therapies, which slow disease progression but do not maintain or restore function,” BrainStorm Chief Operating Officer Ralph Kern said.
According to the ALS Association, 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with the illness, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which has severely disabled British physicist Stephen Hawking. (Reporting by Tova Cohen, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch)