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Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, joins ExCell study
Date:1/7/2009

Chicago, Illinois and Jerusalem, Israel, January 7, 2009 --- Children's Memorial Hospital and the Gamida Cell - Teva Joint Venture (JV) announced today that Children's Memorial has joined a select group of cancer centers in Europe, the United States and Israel, actively enrolling patients for the ExCell study. The pivotal registration study is testing the safety and efficacy of StemEx, a potential alternative transplantation option for adolescents and adults with leukemia, lymphoma and other high-risk hematological malignancies, who are unable to find an adequately matched, bone marrow donor. StemEx is being developed by a Joint Venture equally owned and managed by Jerusalem-based biomedical company Gamida Cell and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NASDAQ: TEVA).

For many patients suffering from blood-based cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, the odds of survival have been historically poor because they cannot find a suitable match bone marrow donor. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, each year in the United States more than 70 percent of the 35,000 patients with life-threatening diseases who could benefit from a bone marrow transplant cannot be matched with a donor.

"We are hopeful that this unique cellular technology will benefit our transplant patients at Children's Memorial. We also believe that this new methodology may expand the role for stem cell transplantation in treating life-threatening diseases, especially in patients without matched donors." said lead investigator Sonali Chaudhury, MD, attending physician in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation at Children's Memorial and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Research shows that cells derived from umbilical cord blood (UCB) can effectively be used for bone marrow transplantation. In addition, cord blood transplants have been associated with a reduced risk for Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD). StemEx is a graft of expanded stem/progenitor cells, derived from a single unit of umbilical cord blood and transplanted in combination with non-expanded cells from the same unit. While UCB has been used mainly for the treatment of small children, the increase in stem/progenitor cells through StemEx, boosts the therapeutic potential of this treatment for adolescents and adults. The preliminary results of the Phase I/II study of StemEx presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in San Diego California, encouraged the further investigation of the safety and efficacy of StemEx in the ExCell study.

"We are proud to work together with Dr. Chaudhury in an effort to improve care for adolescents being treated at Children's Memorial," said Dr. David Snyder, vice president of clinical development at Gamida Cell.


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Contact: Julie Pesch
jpesch@childrensmemorial.org
773-880-3055
Children's Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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