Trends in cell therapy clinical trials 2011 – 2013

by Alexey Bersenev on March 2, 2014 · 4 comments

in annual reports

Since last year, I’m sharing some trends in cell therapy clinical trials. Real time tracking of all registered trials allows to identify trends in multiple dimensions. Today I”m posting a snapshot of trending for the last 3 years – from 2011 to 2013. There could be some minimal discrepancies in numbers between this and previous reports (due to accidental detection of trials which were not captured initially). Please refer to this report as the latest update.

Total number of trials
Total number of cell therapy trials, registered in international databases, continue to increase. From 2011 to 2013 a total number of trials increase about 2 times.


The value of US NCT database ( remains constant over the years, representing 74% of all registered cell therapy trials internationally.

The number on industry-sponsored clinical trials significantly increased in 2013, compared to previous two years. In the same time, the number of academic trials continue to grow even more rapidly.


As in the previous 2 years, US and China dominated all other countries in number of cell therapy trials in 2013. However, the US trend is positive, but China’s trend is negative. Interestingly, Japan made a biggest jump up in 2013. South Korea, UK and Iran stay pretty much flat over last 3 years.

This graph shows a value of the most representative countries in % of total trials number.

If we look at regions in general, we will not able to see significant fluctuations in the last few years. I’d only notice a shrinkage of Europe in 2013.


Cell types
In order to demonstrate some interesting trends I’ve picked the most frequently used cell types in clinical trials. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) trials continue to surpass all other cell types. In 2013, T-cell trials continued to grow slowly and represented the second most frequent cell type after MSC. The mostly rapidly growing cell types were bone marrow mononuclear cells (BM MNC) and dendritic cells (DC). DC were the “biggest movers” in 2013. Interest to hematopoietic stem/ progenitor cells (including mobilized blood, cord blood and bone marrow) dropped significantly in 2013. NK cells and adipose stromal vascular fraction (SVF) went up in 2013. Embryonic stem cell trials plunged to zero.


Malignancies is the most frequent indication for cell therapy trials. It skyrocketed in the last 3 years (increase about twice every year)! Of course, it coupled with interest to cellular immunotherapy and strictly correlates with use of immune cells (T-cells, DC, NK cells…). Interest to cell therapy in neurology, cardiovascular medicine and ophthalmology remains pretty much flat. Muskoloskeletal diseases have a prominent positive trend. Interest to cell therapy for liver diseases seem to be decreasing.


It was a snapshot of dataset analysis for the last 3 years. I’ve picked only some trends to demonstrate that the data could be “sliced and diced” in many different ways.

How to cite:
Bersenev Alexey. Trends in cell therapy clinical trials 2011 – 2013. CellTrials blog. March 2, 2014. Available:

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Stefano Baila March 5, 2014 at 4:20 am

Hello Alexey, always very interesting data. I assume it is difficult to properly collect info on “hospital exemption” activities and properly include them in analysis like yours. I see it as a growing cell therapy practice in EU, often liked to MSCs in the context of GvHD. I always wondering what impact the hospital exemption has in the cell therapy applications.


Alexey Bersenev March 9, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Hi Stefano,
It is not even possible if “exemption” study is not registered in database. I have no way to know it. Some “compassionate use” studies are registered in NCT database, but not many. They are not typical clinical trials.
The only way to know impact is following reports – from conferences and publications. Many results get published without reference to clinical trial ID. It’s very slow though, because publication could be in the process for years. So, networking is the fastest way to get to know results and impact of these studies.


Marie March 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Thank you very much for the interesting compilation of facts Alexey! What an excellent review, as usual.

I wonder if you think approval of Prochymal and Cytori device has impacted the decrease in studies in Europe?


Alexey Bersenev March 10, 2014 at 12:00 am

I don’t think so. The interest to MSCs and SVF in Europe is very high. Also trials are ongoing for many years (5-12). So, I think, it’s just a “normal fluctuation” rather then trend, but we will see in the next 2-3 years. I’d expect spikes in Japan and Korea.


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