Mayo Clinic and W. L. Gore & Associates have announced a partnership to develop implantable cell therapies to treat debilitating conditions with no cure.
The for-profit company, Avobis Bio, will combine a patient’s own stem cells with bioabsorbable scaffolds to stimulate the healing of perianal fistulas, painful tunneling wounds that affect patients with Crohn’s disease. Few healing options exist, and patients endure multiple surgeries and ongoing risk of life-threatening complications, according to Mayo Clinic. A recent clinical trial of an investigational treatment has shown promising results, the healthcare system said.
The treatment involves harvesting and processing a patient’s own mesenchymal stem cells, which then are populated on Gore’s bioabsorbable polymer scaffold and surgically implanted in the fistula. In a phase I clinical trial, 76% of patients experienced healing at one year, according to a news release.
Treatment options for perianal fistulas have eluded physicians for years, according to Mayo gastroenterologist William Faubion Jr., who specializes in inflammatory bowel diseases.
“We are encouraged by the results of the recent clinical trial and look forward to improving clinical outcomes for patients with perianal fistulas,” added Paul Fischer, Gore Associate and chairman of the Avobis Bio board of managers. “We believe mesenchymal stem cells, combined with enabling scaffolds, have a great deal of potential to successfully treat a range of very challenging clinical conditions beyond this initial therapy.”
Like Gore, Avobis Bio is headquartered in Delaware.