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StemCells rises on spinal injury trial report

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of StemCells Inc. rose Tuesday after the company reported positive early results from a trial of its neural stem cells as a treatment for spinal cord injury.

THE SPARK: StemCells said its purified human neural stem cell therapy appears to be safe, and two of the three patients in the small study had improved sensation after treatment. StemCells is running the clinical trial in Switzerland. Its therapy is being tested on three patients who suffered chest-level spinal injuries. They have no nerve function or feeling below the injury.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society in London.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Newark, Calif., company is developing therapies based on adult neural stem cells. In July StemCells reported positive data from a study that tested the neural stem cells in an animal model related to Alzheimer's disease. The company is also conducting preclinical studies based on stem cells taken from the liver.

Stem cell therapies are still an experimental field and StemCells is a small company without any approved products.

SHARE ACTION: StemCells shares gained 14 cents, or 6 percent, to $2.30 in afternoon trading. The stock has more than doubled in value since the day before StemCells reported the animal-model Alzheimer's disease results, July 17.

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