would like to highlight International Stem Cell Corporation
), researching the therapeutic applications of human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs) and the development and commercialization of cell-based research and cosmetic products. ISCO's core technology, parthenogenesis, results in the creation of pluripotent human stem cells from unfertilized oocytes (eggs). The company is focused on using these stem cells to treat diseases of the eye, the nervous system, and the liver, where cell therapy has been proven clinically yet is limited by the availability of safe immune-matched human cells or tissue.
In the company’s news,
International Stem Cell Corp. is tackling some of the world’s most debilitating health maladies with a powerful new stem cell technology that employs parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis is a type of reproduction that takes place in the absence of fertilization. The company’s new stem cell technology holds the promise of advancing significantly the field of regenerative medicine by addressing the problem of immune-rejection. Stem cells are able to divide in a process of self-renewal in which one cell gives birth to two or more. They are also able to differentiate into cells of a different type so that a stem cell originating from one part of the body may differentiate into a type that is similar to the cells in another part of the body.
At the top of ISCO’s list is Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is characterized by noticeable tremors of the hands. But since it is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects motor functions, it also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates that approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, a number that may not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. About one million Americans live with the disease and an estimated seven to ten million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. ISCO’s UniStemCell for Parkinson’s has completed the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)’s Investigational New Drug (IND) phase, which means it will soon begin to undergoing clinical trials. Clinical trials occur when the effects of new treatments on humans are studied.
ISCO’s development of neural stem cells for the treatment of ischemic strokes is also at an advanced stage. Pre-clinical trials have been completed, and the company is now embarking on the FDA’s IND phase. Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that, on average, one American dies from stroke every four minutes and that more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.
ISCO is also developing treatments for spinal cord injury, metabolic liver diseases, retinal blindness and corneal blindness. These four treatments are all at the pre-clinical stage. Metabolic liver diseases, retinal blindness, corneal blindness and spinal cord injuries are ailments that affect hundreds of thousands. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham estimates that between 240,000 and 337,000 people in the United States are currently living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and 12,500 new SCI cases occur every year.
So far ISCO has accepted no government subventions and has been able to generate income from its two subsidiaries to help fund its research. One subsidiary, Lifeline Skin Care, Inc., develops, produces, and markets a line of anti-aging cosmetic skin care products. The other is Lifeline Cell Technology, LLC, which develops, manufactures, and sells human cell culture products along with optimized reagents for laboratory research purposes. For the many sufferers of Parkinson’s disease and other debilitating conditions, relief from ISCO is on the way.
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