ST. LOUIS, SAN FRANCISCO and GENEVA, June 20, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc., (OTCQB:AMBS), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics related to endoplasmic reticulum stress, cell cycle dysregulation, neurodegeneration and apoptosis, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to evaluate the efficacy of MANF to treat Wolfram-Syndrome-induced blindness in animals. Dr. Fumihiko Urano, a researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine, will be leading the research. The project initially focuses on evaluating MANF treatment efficacy in retinal cells that are produced from induced pluripotent stem cells, which were derived from Wolfram's patients. Dr. Urano has developed his models of retinal damage with funding from the Jack and JT Snow Foundation.
"I am so pleased and thrilled that Amarantus has decided to team up with the Jack and J.T. Snow Scientific Research Foundation to help us on our quest for a cure for Wolfram Syndrome," commented JT Snow of the Jack and JT Snow Foundation. "We are continuing to fund Dr. Urano's work and are hopeful this nascent collaboration will lead to a breakthrough for patients."
Wolfram's Syndrome is a rare, genetic pediatric condition characterized by Type-1 diabetes, blindness due to optic atrophy, deafness and neurodegeneration that affects an estimated 20,000 patients worldwide, including 1,000 in the United States. Wolfram's is characterized by cellular degeneration due to stress of the endoplasmic reticulum, a structure in cells where newly formed proteins are folded into their functional shapes.
Wolfram's patients typically develop Type-1 diabetes in early childhood due to beta cell degeneration. The Company believes that Wolfram's-induced diabetes may serve as an orphan indication to demonstrate proof of concept for a disease-modifying treatment for diabetes. Recent data published in the scientific journal Cell suggests that MANF is indispensable for beta cell protection and proliferation.
"I am extremely pleased to begin formally collaborating with Amarantus on this very promising area of research for Wolfram's patients," said Dr. Urano, the Samuel E. Schechter Professor at the Washington University School of Medicine. "Blindness is the most devastating quality-of-life issue faced by patients, and there are currently no treatments available for blindness due to Wolfram's. MANF has demonstrated efficacy in protecting retinal cells from damage in other models of blindness. We have demonstrated in the lab that MANF protects against endoplasmic reticulum stress in beta cells and are hopeful this mode of action will translate into Wolfram's retinal cells. We believe multiple projects may emerge as a result of this effort, including additional work on the diabetes components of Wolfram's."
"We have a very strategic interest in Wolfram's Syndrome, as we believe MANF could be a disease-modifying treatment for many different aspects of Wolfram's disorder, including blindness and Type-1 diabetes," said Gerald E. Commissiong, President & CEO of Amarantus. "With only 1000 patients in the United States, we believe efficacy in Wolfram's would lead to an accelerated path to market for MANF. We are extremely pleased to be working with Dr. Urano and with the Jack and JT Snow Foundation to support this important area of research into Wolfram's."
About Mesencephalic-Astrocyte-derived Neurotrophic Factor (MANF)
MANF (Mesencephalic-Astrocyte-derived Neurotrophic Factor) is believed to have broad potential because it is a naturally-occurring protein produced by the body for the purpose of reducing and preventing apoptosis (cell death) in response to injury or disease, via the unfolded protein response the endoplasmic reticulum. By manufacturing MANF and administering it to the body, Amarantus is seeking to use a regenerative medicine approach to assist the body with higher quantities of MANF when needed. Amarantus is the front-runner and primary holder of intellectual property (IP) around MANF, and is initially focusing on the development of MANF-based protein therapeutics. MANF's current lead indication is Retinitis Pigmentosa, and other applications including Parkinson's disease, and Wolfram's Syndrome. Additional applications for MANF may include Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), myocardial infarction, antibiotic-induced ototoxicity and certain other rare orphan diseases currently under evaluation.
About Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc.
Amarantus BioScience Holdings (AMBS) is a biotechnology company developing treatments and diagnostics for diseases associated with neurodegeneration and protein misfolding-related apoptosis. AMBS has licensed Eltoprazine ("Eltoprazine"), a phase 2b ready indication for Parkinson's Levodopa induced dyskinesia and Adult ADHD. AMBS has an exclusive worldwide license to the Lymphocyte Proliferation test ("LymPro Test(R)") for Alzheimer's disease and owns the intellectual property rights to a therapeutic protein known as Mesencephalic-Astrocyte-derived Neurotrophic Factor ("MANF") and is developing MANF-based products as treatments for brain disorders. AMBS also owns intellectual property for the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease ("NuroPro") and the discovery of neurotrophic factors ("PhenoGuard"). Amarantus operations are located at Janssen Labs @QB3 in San Francisco, CA. For further information please visit www.Amarantus.com, or connect with the Company on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
CONTACT: Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc.: Aimee Boutcher Director of Investor Relations 408.737.2734 x 109 firstname.lastname@example.org
Source:Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc.