Cellect Biotechnology Ltd. (APOP) said it succeeded in conducting the first stem cell transplant procedure using its ApoGraft technology in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in a blood cancer patient. (See also, Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Procedures.)

ApoGraft Aims to Simplify Transplant Procedure

A stem cell transplant is a treatment to cure certain types of cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, and a few blood-related disorders. The process involves administering high doses of chemotherapy and whole-body radiotherapy.

However, the process has a high occurrence of complications. It includes more than half the stem cell transplant procedures, including bone marrow transplant, resulting in a serious rejection disease called Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GvHD). GvHD is a medical disorder which results from receipt of transplanted tissue from a genetically different person. Around 15% of the stem cell transplant patients die owing to GvHD, which has been identified as the leading cause of non-relapse deaths following the transplant procedure.

While there are many drugs developed by pharmaceutical majors for treating complications arising from the procedures, ApoGraft targets the procedure itself. 

Cellect Biotechnology’s ApoGraft technology aims to make stem cell transplants safer, simpler, and cost efficient, which helps in decreasing the serious complications associated with the procedure. The Phase 1/2 trial consists of 12 patients, and is assessing the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of the ApoGraft process in patients having blood-related cancers who are undergoing stem cell transplantation from a matched related donor.

Dr. Shai Yarkoni, Cellect’s CEO, said, “After 15 years of research, this is the first time we have used our technology on a cancer patient suffering from life-threatening conditions. It is a first good step on a road that we hope will lead to stem cell based regenerative medicine becoming a safe commodity treatment at every hospital in the world.”

Following the report of success in performing the first ApoGraft based stem cell transplant procedure, the stock price of the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company jumped to more than double and hit a 52-week high of $13.50 per share. The stock consolidated the early-morning gains and was trading at $11.30 a share, up 75%, at 11 a.m. ET.