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Israel and UAE team up on stem cell therapy research for COVID-19

David Adom wears protective clothing while working in a coronavirus drive through tent in Jerusalem. On Monday, Israel and United Arab Emirates stem cell companies announced collaboration on research on COVID-19 treatments. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
David Adom wears protective clothing while working in a coronavirus drive through tent in Jerusalem. On Monday, Israel and United Arab Emirates stem cell companies announced collaboration on research on COVID-19 treatments. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Israel and United Arab Emirates stem cell therapy companies signed an agreement Monday to collaborate on researching potential treatment for COVID-19.

The accord between Israel's Pluristem Therapeutics and UAE's Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center aims to capitalize on each company's expertise to develop therapies and regenerative medicines for the treatment of severe diseases including COVID-19, according to a joint statement.

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Both companies have been treating COVID-19 patients with stem cells.

Pluristem has been treating COVID-19 patients with a placenta-based stem cell therapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the Israel stem cell therapy company in May for a Phase II study of the treatment for severe COVID-19 cases. Preliminary results released in May from compassionate-use programs in Israel and the United States were promising, showing that 75 percent of participants no longer needed mechanical ventilation within 28 days.

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The Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center has started a therapy that returns blood-based stem cells back into the patient's lungs as a fine mist through a nebulizer.

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"We are extremely proud to partner with our colleagues at the ADSCC by sharing knowledge and expertise that we believe will advance healthcare within and across our borders," Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay said in the statement.

The ADSCC's General Manager Dr. Yendry Ventura also commented on the deal in the statement.

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"Pluristem is a major player in the cell therapy field with years of experience, a unique platform and robust clinical pipeline," Ventura said. "We are excited to join forces and to promote the research and development of cell therapies for the best of the patients and the human society as a whole."

The deal is the second cross-border agreement since President Donald Trump brokered a deal to normalize ties between Israel and the UAE. It follows a cross-border deal on Sunday between UAE-based APEX National Investment and Israel's TeraGroup to conduct research on the coronavirus.

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