Friday, November 7, 2003
Palo Alto, Calif.
Shares of biomedical company StemCells Inc. soared Friday on news that a study on mice found that the company's human neural stem cells may help regenerate myelin, a nerve fiber insulator that is often lost in spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and certain genetic disorders.
The stock of the Palo Alto-based company closed at $2.41, up 64 cents, or 36 percent, on heavy volume on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The day's strongest level of $3.12 was a 52-week high surpassing the prior high of $2.85 set June 10.
The company said it studied a mouse that can't produce myelin because it lacks a copy of a certain gene. The lack of myelin caused the nerves of its spinal cord to produce a shivering behavior.
StemCells said that when its stem cells were transplanted into the mouse, the cells produced a type of cell called an oligodendrocyte, which integrates into the brain and produces myelin.
The company said damage to myelin is the primary factor in muscle and organ malfunctions associated with conditions such as spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.
"By regenerating healthy myelin producing oligodendrocytes, we may potentially be able to alleviate these symptoms that so many patients suffer from," said Dr. Stan Tamaki, StemCells' senior scientist, in a release.
Copyright © 2003, Associated Press