Guildford, UK, 15 April 2011: ReNeuron Group plc (LSE: RENE.L) today announces that one of its human neural stem cell lines has been used by academic researchers to show for the first time in a clinically relevant model how anti-depressant drugs make new brain cells.
In a study published this week in the journal Molecular Psychiatry1, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London used ReNeuron’s human hippocampal stem cells as a new model to investigate “in a dish” the effects of anti-depressants on brain cells. The study showed that anti-depressants produce more stem cells and accelerate their development into adult brain cells. This process is due to a protein in the cell, the glucocorticoid receptor, being activated by the anti-depressants, switching on particular genes that turn immature stem cells into mature, adult brain cells. By stimulating this process of neurogenesis (the production of new brain cells), anti-depressants counteract the damaging effects of stress hormones which are elevated in depressed patients and thereby help to overcome the debilitating psychological symptoms of depression.
According to the World Health Organisation, depression is expected to be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease by the year 2020. The novel stem cell system used in this study can be deployed in the future to model psychiatric illnesses in the laboratory and thereby assist in the development of more effective, targeted anti-depressant drugs.
John Sinden, Chief Scientific Officer of ReNeuron, said:
“We are pleased that yet another candidate in ReNeuron’s library of neural stem cell lines is showing its potential, either as a cell-based therapeutic or as a model of disease to assist in the development of conventional drug therapeutics. Through its various academic and industrial collaborations, ReNeuron is well-placed to exploit the scientific and commercial potential of its stem cell assets in both of these applications.”
1. Anti-depressants increase human hippocampal neurogenesis by activating the glucocorticoid receptor Anacker et al, Molecular Psychiatry
Michael Hunt, Chief Executive Officer – ReNeuron +44 (0) 1483 302560
Dr John Sinden, Chief Scientific Officer – ReNeuron
Lisa Baderoon, Mark Court, Isabel Podda +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Antony Legge, Oliver Rigby +44 (0) 20 7776 6550
Daniel Stewart & Company plc
James Gallagher, Tim Graham +44 (0) 20 3206 7000
Matrix Corporate Capital LLP
ReNeuron is a leading, clinical-stage stem cell business. Its primary objective is the development of novel stem cell therapies targeting areas of significant unmet or poorly met medical need.
ReNeuron has used its unique stem cell technologies to develop cell-based therapies for significant disease conditions where the cells can be readily administered “off-the-shelf” to any eligible patient without the need for additional immunosuppressive drug treatments. ReNeuron’s lead candidate is its ReN001 stem cell therapy for the treatment of patients left disabled by the effects of a stroke. This therapy is currently in early clinical development. ReNeuron’s ReN009 stem cell ther apy is being developed as a treatment for peripheral arterial disease, a serious and common side-effect of diabetes. The Company is also developing stem cell therapies for other conditions such as blindness-causing diseases of the retina.
ReNeuron has also developed a range of stem cell lines for non-therapeutic applications – its ReNcell® products for use in academic and commercial research. The Company’s ReNcell®CX and ReNcell®VM neural cell lines are marketed worldwide under license by USA-based Millipore Corporation.
ReNeuron’s shares are traded on the London AIM market under the symbol RENE.L. Further information on ReNeuron and its products can be found at www.reneuron.com.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and business achievements/performance of ReNeuron and certain of the plans and objectives of management of ReNeuron with respect thereto. These statements may generally, but not always, be identified by the use of words such as “should”, “expects”, “estimates”, “believes” or similar expressions. This announcement also contains forward-looking statements attributed to certain third parties relating to their estimates regarding the growth of markets and demand for products. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they reflect ReNeuron’s current expectations and assumptions as to future events and circumstances that may not prove accurate. A number of factors could cause ReNeuron’s actual financial condition, results of operations and business achievements/performance to differ materially from the estimates made or implied in such forward-looking statements and, accordingly, reliance should not be placed on such statements.