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Mesoblast shares surge again as stem cell treatment helps bone marrow transplants

MChildren showcase designs by Balloon For Kids on the runway at the Royal Children’s Hospital Spring Fashion Preview 2013 in Melbourne. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Shares in biotech company Mesoblast are soaring again, this time because its stem cell treatment has been found effective in helping children survive bone marrow transplants.

A short time ago, the shares were 16% higher at $1.755.

Last week a trial of Mesoblast’s stem cell product was show to be effective for rheumatoid arthritis.

Today the company announced results of testing which found its stem cell product significantly increased survival in children with what’s called steroid-refractory acute Graft Versus Host Disease (aGVHD), where donor cells attack the recipient after bone marrow transplants. The disease damages the skin, gut and liver, and is often fatal.

The results of the test of 241 children were presented to the tandem annual scientific meetings of the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in Hawaii.

“There is a critical and urgent need for an effective and well–tolerated treatment for the very ill children who develop this life-threatening complication after a bone marrow transplant,” says the study’s independent lead investigator, Dr Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke University Medical Center.

“While historically there is a high mortality rate associated with this complication, we are now seeing the majority of children who receive Mesoblast’s cell therapy respond and survive.”

Mesoblast CEO Silviu Itescu says: “We are committed to making our cell therapy available to the many children suffering from this devastating disease.”

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