Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The California Stem Cell Agency Celebrates a First

The California stem cell agency today marked a signal event in its most advanced clinical trial by declaring: 
“Some things never get old. Like watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon. Listening to a baby laugh. Watching the San Francisco Giants win the baseball World Series. Now you can add to that list learning that one of the clinical trials we are funding has just treated their first patient.”
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The piece by Kevin McCormack, senior communications director for the agency, referred to Caladrius Biosciences, Inc., which in May was awarded nearly $18 million by the agency. (Caladrius was formerly known as NeoStem.)

The money is going into a phase three trial for a treatment of metastatic cancer, the most lethal form of skin cancer. It is the first phase three trial in which the agency has participated.

McCormack wrote,
“Caladrius’ approach is a personalized one. They use the patient’s own tumor cells to create a therapeutic vaccine called (for now at least) CLBS20. It’s designed to engage the patient’s own immune system and destroy the cancer.
“This first patient was treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Altogether Caladrius hopes to enroll some 250 patients at more than 40 sites worldwide, for the trial. Seven of those sites are here in California; that’s the portion of the project we are funding.”
Caladrius, which is headquartered in New York City, also issued a press release in which David Mazzo, CEO of the firm, described the enrollment of the first patient as a “milestone.”

Caladrius recently announced that it had “entered into a material transfer agreement with the University of Southern California and the California Institute of Technology, concerning next-generation strategies for its core cancer technology.”

The company’s stock today closed at $2.00, down 3.85 percent. Its 52 week low is $1.82. The 52-week high is $7.22.
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