Shares in nerve growth therapy developer Orthocell (ASX: OCC) have surged 377 per cent on positive news from clinical trials of its CelGro tissue repair device.
The company, which developed and manufactures CelGro at its internationally-approved facility in Perth, passed a critical trial with patients with damaged nerves.
The first four patients to receive surgery with CelGro regained sensation and muscle function and two years later have been able to return to normal work and sport activities.
The trials, at Perth’s St John of God Subiaco Hospital, have caused a sensation globally, with Orthocell shares leaping from 15 cents to 52.5 cents on Thursday.
Orthocell managing director, Paul Anderson said: “The first patient outcomes are very positive with early results indicating CelGro is effective in guiding and regenerating peripheral nerves.
“This is an important step…(in) tensionless reconnection of the damaged nerve while guiding nerve regeneration and accelerating the healing process.”
CelGro is already approved and sold in the EU for dental bone and soft tissue applications, and trials have indicated it assists in the repair of rotator cuff tendon within the shoulder.
The company also markets Ortho-ATI, an autologous (using a patient’s own cells) cell therapy for the treatment of damaged and degenerated tendons.
CelGro is a bio-compatible collagen scaffold implanted during surgery at the site of the nerve damage, and can be used in combination with autologous cells or growth factors.
One patient Daniel Hunt said in a statement that he suffered a football injury which left him with no feeling in his right shoulder.
“Ï am living a normal life now,” Hunt said.
“I can pick up my kids and I even swam to Rottnest (an island off Perth). ”
“I might even be able to play footy again, something I thought would never happen.”
So far CelGro has been used to treat 20 patients, with the progress of four reported.
The device makes for speedier and, it appears, more effective, surgery than with traditional methods.
More than 20 million people suffer from peripheral nerve damage in the US alone.
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