Researchers from CytoTherapeutics Inc. (CTI) havedemonstrated that the company's encapsulated cell therapy(CRIB technology) is able to deliver a variety of neurotrophicfactor-producing cells to the brains of animal models ofAlzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.

Speaking Wednesday at the Conference on NeurodegenerativeDiseases: Advances in Therapeutic Development, held in LakeBuena Vista, Fla., CTI's director of neuroscience, Edward Baetge,discussed the findings from the company's primate model forAlzheimer's.

In this system, the scientists successfully delivered humannerve growth factor (hNGF) across the blood/brain barrier fromxenogeneic (cross-species) cell-containing capsules implantedin the animals' brains. The results of the study demonstrateprotection from growth factor-deprived loss of cholinergicneurons in a region of the brain linked to the memorydeficiencies associated with Alzheimer's disease.

CTI (NASDAQ:CTII) of Providence, R.I., and its collaboratorshave found that primates with experimentally inducedParkinson's whose brains had been implanted with dopamine-secreting cells showed behavioral improvements. In addition,researchers associated with CTI have used the CRIB technologyto deliver hNGF into the brains of rodents with experimentalHuntington's disease; these animals also showed behavioral andanatomical improvements.

The most important aspect of these results, according to Baetge,is the demonstration that CTI's encapsulated cells can " delivermultiple neurotransmitter and trophic factors directly into thecentral nervous system without the use of immunosuppressionand within a fully retrievable implant."

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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