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UPCI Joins ExCell Research Study Using Stem Cells for Leukemia and Lymphoma Patients
Date:6/15/2009

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, and JERUSALEM, Israel, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the Gamida Cell - Teva Joint Venture announced today that the Institute has joined an elite group of cancer centers in Europe, the United States and Israel that are now enrolling patients to participate in the ExCell research study.

The phase III study is assessing the safety and efficacy of StemEx(R), an investigational product derived from stem cells, as an alternative treatment to bone marrow transplants for hematological malignancies, including leukemia and lymphoma. StemEx is a graft of expanded stem/progenitor cells taken from a single unit of umbilical cord blood and then transplanted in combination with non-expanded cells from the same unit.

"I am extremely pleased UPCI has the opportunity to be a part of this study," said Mounzer Agha, M.D., clinical director of UPCI's Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Program. "Using umbilical cord blood stem cells instead of a traditional bone marrow transplant opens tremendous treatment possibilities for patients with diseases like leukemia and lymphoma."

Bone marrow transplantation is a life-saving treatment for many types of leukemia and lymphoma. However, more than half the number of patients in need of a transplant can't find matching bone marrow donors. Cord blood could be an alternative of choice.

Previous research has shown that umbilical cord blood stem cells offer a viable therapeutic option for leukemia and lymphoma patients without the necessity of a matched donor. Umbilical cord blood has two important advantages - it is a readily available source for stem cells and it has a lower matching requirement for patients. With StemEx(R), the cord blood unit is enriched with stem cells, which are critical for a successful transplantation.

"We are pleased to work with the able
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SOURCE Gamida Cell LTD
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