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By Biocat

The Banc de Sang i Teixits (Blood and Tissue Bank) division of advanced therapies, XCelia, has begun to supply the first biodrugs, after five years of research, for personalized treatment of chronic osteoarthritis. Clinical trials were carried out on 15 patients that had no available alternative treatment, and consisted in extracting bone marrow cells, multiplying them in a clean room and injecting them to regenerate the joint and recover mobility.

Chronic osteoarthritis affects 40% of the population over 60 and an estimated 14% of adults over 25 have symptoms of this condition. Risk factors include age and obesity, so prevalence of this condition is expected to rise in the future.

In addition to chronic osteoarthritis, there are many other diseases of the musculoskeletal system that currently have no effective treatment or leave patients unable to recover lost functions after the diseases has been treated. With their cell drugs, XCelia aims to delay or avoid the use of prosthesis, substitute tissue implants extracted from other areas of the body, and allow for minimally invasive surgical procedures. Currently, they are working on three clinical trials with benchmark research centers in Catalonia:

  • Degenerative spondylosis of the spine (affecting one or more vertebrae): 62 patients with this degenerative disease are treated with bone fragments from the tissue bank and with mesenchymal stem cells. This could avoid the need to extract bone from other areas of the body to put in the spine. In collaboration with Hospital de la Vall Hebron, ICATME-Dexeus, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Hospital de Sant Pau and Hospital del Mar.
  • Aseptic necrosis of the hip: 24 patients with necrosis of the head of the femur receive mesenchymal stem cells in bone particles from the tissue bank to form bone in this specific area. The aim is to avoid total destruction of the joint and the need for a hip prosthesis. In collaboration with Hospital de la Vall d’Hebron.
  • Pseudarthrosis: 32 patients with fractures that have not united receive mesenchymal stem cells combined with tricalcium phosphate and fibrin to regenerate the bone and unite the fracture. In collaboration with Hospital General de l’Hospitalet and Hospital Moisès Broggi.

In June, XCelia participated for the first time in BIO Boston, the top global biotechnology convention, with a delegation of 72 Catalan companies and organizations coordinated by Biocat. The United States market is one of the company’s top priorities. XCelia Director Dr. Joan García feels that their participation was very productive as “we have gotten a global view of the biotechnology sector: its main trends, stakeholders and drivers. We have also forged links with companies and people we had no prior contact with, which has led to opportunities to sign collaboration agreements.”

In addition to XCelia, the Banc de Sang i Teixits also has two other divisions: the Umbilical Cord Bank, which is the second most important in the world for transplants, and the Mothers’ Milk Bank, which they started up in 2011.

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