Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. , a regenerative medicine company developing novel placenta-based cell therapy products, has announced a collaboration between the company and NASA’s Ames Research Center to evaluate the potential of the company's PLX cell therapies in preventing and treating medical conditions caused during space missions. Dr. Ruth Globus of NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley, has been awarded a 2019 NASA Ames Research Innovation Award (ARIA) for the collaboration with Pluristem.

The project, titled, “Therapeutic Stromal Cells for Health in Space,” has been selected to preclinically evaluate the potential of Pluristem’s PLX cell therapies in preventing and treating medical conditions caused during space missions, including indications relating to blood, bone, muscle, brain, and heart.

“During space missions, astronauts are exposed to a challenging environment which includes radiation and microgravity, leading to muscle and bone loss as well as other potentially serious medical conditions,” says Dr. Globus. “In fact, unless astronauts allocate about two hours of time for daily exercise sessions, they can experience a rapid and dramatic muscle loss. Astronauts can experience up to 20 percent muscle loss in muscle mass on spaceflights lasting just five to eleven days and in longer missions, they also lose bone density at a rate of 1–2 percent per month which can lead to more fragile bones. Therefore, we are intrigued by the possibility that PLX cell therapies can address these and other persistent negative effects of space travel on the human body.”

“We are excited to partner with NASA on this project, which we believe further demonstrates the potential broad clinical utility of our PLX cell therapies,” says Yaky Yanay, pPresident and co-chief executive officer of Pluristem. “Three of the biggest medical problems astronauts face during long-term space exploration missions are muscle and bone loss and radiation exposure. As demonstrated in our previous studies, PLX cells have the potential ability to help regenerate muscles, as well as protect and regenerate the hematological system following exposure to radiation. We look forward to harnessing our PLX regenerative medicine platform for space research, and establishing a robust and mutually beneficial partnership with NASA.”

The ARIA award invests in highly innovative, exploratory scientific research that directly supports advancing the strategic direction of NASA’s Ames Research Center and NASA. It also promotes the vitality of NASA’s Ames Research Center through strategic investments in scientific research, capabilities, and people.