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Contract Awarded for Stem Cell Derived Burn Therapy

Stem cells derived from body fat extracted during liposuction (Cytori Therapeutics)

Stem cells derived from body fat extracted during liposuction (Cytori Therapeutics)

Cytori Therapeutics in San Diego received a contract from Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for development of a cell therapy to treat thermal burns combined with radiation injury. The contract from BARDA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has a value of up to $106 million over a maximum of five years.

Under the contract, Cytori will create a new countermeasure to treat thermal burns following a mass-casualty event. Cytori’s cell therapy technology is based on stem and regenerative cells derived from an individual’s own body fat.  The company’s process extracts stem and regenerative cells from body fat, often available as a result of liposuction.

The company says adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells can be used to treat a variety of conditions including cardiovascular disease and soft tissue defects as well as wound healing. Cytori cites a 2006 study showing greater quantities of stem and regenerative cells from adipose than from bone marrow.

Cytori says the contract’s first phase ($4.7 million) covers preclinical research and further development of the company’s cell processing system. Successful achievement of specified milestones will allow BARDA to exercise options in the contract valued at up to $101 million in additional funding. The contract continuations will enable Cytori to bring the technology for thermal burns through the FDA pre-market approval process.

The contract is expected to meet a need identified in a February 2012 Government Accountability Office report prepared for Senators Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins — chair and ranking member respectively of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs — citing the need to address thermal burns from mass casualties inflicted by conventional explosives, radiological dirty bombs, and nuclear weapons. “Medical care for thermal burns in a mass casualty incident,” says the report, “would require the ready availability of large quantities of medical countermeasures, such as pain medications, wound dressings, and intravenous fluids, both on-site and in emergency treatment facilities.”

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