Opexa Advances Monocyte Derived Islet Technology to Proof of Principle in stz-induced NOD/SCID Mice
The first presentation was made by Opexa's director of stem cell research, Glenn Winnier, Ph.D. at the ISSCR Annual Meeting and described the differentiation of adult monocyte-derived stem cells (MDSCs) to generate pancreatic endocrine cell clusters known as monocyte-derived islets (MDIs). MDIs express pancreatic specific factors as well as hormones insulin, glucagons and somatostatin in physiological proportions. These studies also demonstrated that MDIs function in a glucose responsive manner when transplanted into diabetic animals. Study animals demonstrate a prolonged reduction (greater than 60 days) in blood glucose levels when MDIs were transplanted under the kidney capsule of stz-induced NOD/SCID mice.
The second presentation, also made by Dr. Winnier, was presented at the ISCT Annual Meeting in Sydney, Australia. The Company's recent adult stem cell research has demonstrated the successful generation of MDIs from insulin-dependent type 1 and type 2 diabetics. These insulin producing islet-like clusters express insulin, glucagon and somatostatin characteristic hormones found in pancreatic islets and function in a glucose responsive manner.
Dr. Winnier commented, "The development of adult MDIs from healthy subjects and the demonstration that these MDIs are functional in vitro and when transplanted into stz-induced NOD/SCID mice is a breakthrough for our adult stem cell program. The differentiation of MDIs derived from MDSCs produced from type 1 and type 2 diabetics is a major advance in the development of a cell replacement therapy for the treatment of diabetes."
"These presentations by Dr. Winnier demonstrate significant advancement of our stem cell development program and serve as proof-of-principle for our adult diabetes mellitus beta-cell replacement therapy development", said David McWilliams, chief executive officer. "The potential use of adult MDSCs for the development of functional MDIs maybe a viable alternative to the development of islet cells derived from embryonic stem cells."
About Opexa Therapeutics
Opexa Therapeutics develops and commercializes cell therapies to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. The Company is focused on autologous cellular therapy applications of its proprietary T-cell and stem cell therapies. The Company's lead product, Tovaxin(TM), a T-cell therapy for multiple sclerosis is in Phase IIb trials. The Company holds the exclusive worldwide license for adult multipotent stem cells derived from mononuclear cells of peripheral blood. The technology allows large quantities of monocyte derived stem cells to be produced efficiently for use in autologous therapy, thus circumventing the threat of rejection. The Company is in preclinical development for diabetes mellitus. For more information, visit the Opexa Therapeutics website at www.opexatherapeutics.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," including statements about Opexa Therapeutics' growth and future operating results, discovery and development of products, strategic alliances and intellectual property, as well as other matters that are not historical facts or information. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current assumptions and expectations and involve risks, uncertainties and other important factors, specifically including those relating to Opexa Therapeutics' ability to obtain additional funding, develop its stem cell technologies, achieve its operational objectives, and obtain patent protection for its discoveries, that may cause Opexa Therapeutics' actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Opexa Therapeutics undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Opexa Therapeutics, Inc.
Lynne Hohlfeld, 281-719-3421
Investor Relations Contacts:
Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates
Kim Sutton Golodetz, 212-838-3777
Bruce Voss, 310-691-7100
Posted: June 2007