StemCells, Inc. Announces Publication of Preclinical Data Demonstrating Its Human Neural Stem Cells Preserve Vision

NEWARK, Calif., Jan. 30, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc.
(Nasdaq:STEM
-
News) today announced the publication of preclinical data
demonstrating that its proprietary HuCNS-SC(R) cells (purified
human neural stem
cells) protect host photoreceptors and preserve vision
in an animal model of retinal disease. The preclinical
results are highly relevant to human disorders of vision loss,
the most notable of which is dry age-related macular degeneration
(AMD). The study is available online at
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07970.x/abstract
and will be featured as the cover article in the February issue
of the international peer-reviewed European Journal of
Neuroscience.

This research was conducted in collaboration with a team of
researchers led by Raymond Lund, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of
Ophthalmology, and Trevor McGill, Ph.D., Research Assistant
Professor at the Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science
University.

The results of the study show that photoreceptors, the key
cells of the eye involved in vision, were protected from
degeneration following transplantation of HuCNS-SC cells into
the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat. The RCS rat is a
well-established model of retinal disease which has been used
extensively to evaluate potential cell therapies. Moreover, the
number of cone photoreceptors, which are responsible for
central vision, remained constant over an extended period,
consistent with the sustained visual acuity and light
sensitivity observed in the study. In humans, degeneration of
the cone photoreceptors account for the unique pattern of
visual loss in dry AMD.

"These results are the most robust shown to date in this animal
model," said Dr. Lund, one of the study's lead investigators.
"One of the more striking findings is that the effect on vision
was long-lasting and correlated with the survival of HuCNS-SC
cells more than seven months after transplantation, which is
substantially longer than other cell types transplanted into
this same model. Also important, particularly for potential
clinical application, was that the cells spread from the site
of initial application to cover more of the retina over time.
These data suggest that HuCNS-SC cells appear to be a
well-suited candidate for cell therapy in retinal degenerative
conditions."

Alexandra Capela, Ph.D., another of the study's investigators
and a senior scientist at StemCells, commented, "This study
showed that the HuCNS-SC cells persisted and migrated
throughout the retina, with no evidence of abnormal cell
formation, which supports our hypothesis of a single transplant
therapeutic. With this research, then, we have shown that
vision can be positively impacted with a simple approach that
does not require replacing photoreceptors or the RPE cells. We
look forward to investigating this promising approach in the
clinic later this year."

About StemCells, Inc.

StemCells, Inc. is engaged in the research, development, and
commercialization of cell-based therapeutics and tools for use
in stem cell-based research and drug discovery. The Company's lead
therapeutic product candidate, HuCNS-SC(R) cells (purified
human neural stem cells), is currently in development as a
potential treatment for a broad range of central nervous system
disorders. Clinical trials are currently underway in spinal
cord injury and in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal
myelination disorder in children. In addition, the Company
plans to initiate a clinical trial of HuCNS-SC cells in the dry
form of age-related macular degeneration in 2012, and is also
pursuing preclinical studies of its HuCNS-SC cells in
Alzheimer's disease. StemCells also markets stem cell research
products, including media and reagents, under the SC Proven(R)
brand, and is developing stem cell-based assay platforms for
use in pharmaceutical research, drug discovery and drug
development. Further information about StemCells is available
at
http://www.stemcellsinc.com.

The StemCells, Inc. logo is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7014

Apart from statements of historical fact, the text of this
press release constitutes forward-looking statements within the
meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and is subject to
the safe harbors created therein. These statements include, but
are not limited to, statements regarding the prospect of the
Company's HuCNS-SC cells to preserve vision in animal models of
retinal disease; the prospect of successful results from this
research collaboration and advancing to clinical testing in
age-related macular degeneration or other retinal disease; the
potential of the Company's HuCNS-SC cells to treat a broad
range of central nervous system disorders; the prospect and
timing associated with initiating a clinical trial in a retinal
disorder; and the future business operations of the Company,
including its ability to conduct clinical trials as well as its
other research and product development efforts. These
forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this
news release. The Company does not undertake to update any of
these forward-looking statements to reflect events or
circumstances that occur after the date hereof. Such statements
reflect management's current views and are based on certain
assumptions that may or may not ultimately prove valid. The
Company's actual results may vary materially from those
contemplated in such forward-looking statements due to risks
and uncertainties to which the Company is subject, including
the fact that additional trials will be required to demonstrate
the safety and efficacy of the Company's HuCNS-SC cells for the
treatment of any disease or disorder; uncertainty as to whether
the results of the Company's preclinical studies in retinal
disease will be replicated in humans; uncertainty as to whether
the FDA or other applicable regulatory agencies will permit the
Company to continue clinical testing in spinal cord injury, PMD
or in future clinical trials of proposed therapies for other
diseases or conditions given the novel and unproven nature of
the Company's technologies; uncertainties regarding the
Company's ability to recruit the patients required to conduct
its clinical trials or to obtain meaningful results;
uncertainties regarding the Company's ability to obtain the
increased capital resources needed to continue its current and
planned research and development operations; uncertainty as to
whether HuCNS-SC and any products that may be generated in the
future in the Company's cell-based programs will prove safe and
clinically effective and not cause tumors or other adverse side
effects; uncertainties regarding the Company's ability to
commercialize a therapeutic product and its ability to
successfully compete with other products on the market; and
other factors that are described under the heading "Risk
Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the
year ended December 31, 2010, and in its subsequent reports on
Forms 10-Q and 8-K.

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StemCells, Inc. Announces Publication of Preclinical Data Demonstrating Its Human Neural Stem Cells Preserve Vision

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