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Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc. (PSTI - Snapshot Report) recently announced that the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will initiate a mechanism-of-action study to evaluate Pluristem's PLacental eXpanded RAD (PLX-RAD) cells for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome (ARS).

The study is expected to start later this month. NIAID aims to evaluate the impact of PLX-RAD cells on body weight, blood count parameters, cytokine concentrations and bone marrow at various intervals following the administration of PLX-RAD cells in animals.

NIAID expects to expand the scope of its PLX-RAD research if the data from this study on irradiated animals' hematological systems turns out to be positive.

Meanwhile, Pluristem is also evaluating PLX-RAD cells in the treatment of bone marrow failure following radio- or chemotherapy. The study is currently in preclinical stages and Pluristem hopes to benefit from the data from the NIAID studies.

Pluristem develops and manufactures cell therapy products in collaboration with companies like United Therapeutics (UTHR - Analyst Report) or through research and clinical institutions.

The cells from placenta are derived using the company’s proprietary PluriX therapy and are known as PLacental eXpanded cells. Pluristem's first candidate in development, PLX-PAD, is intended to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD).

We note that Pluristem intends to develop and produce cell therapy products for the treatment of multiple disorders using several methods of administration.

Last month, Pluristem released positive top-line results from a phase I/II trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of PLX-PAD cells in the treatment of muscle injury. The study met both the primary and secondary endpoints. The results from the trial showed that PLX-PAD cells were safe and statistical significance was reached for the primary efficacy endpoint.

The results indicated that PLX cells might be efficacious in the treatment of orthopedic injuries including muscles and tendons.

We are encouraged by Pluristem’s efforts to evaluate the efficacy of PLX-PAD cells for various indications. Pluristem currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector include Actelion (ALIOF) and Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB - Analyst Report). Both carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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