Dear Friends of International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO):
Since the press release of October 27, 2009 announcing that ISCO had collaborated with Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York to demonstrate that immature human eggs (oocytes) could be used in place of mature eggs to create the parthenotes that are the starting point for our stem cell lines, I have been swamped with questions.
They all boil down to the same question: "What does this mean?" That is a very fair question, so let me try to explain. Obtaining the unfertilized eggs that are needed to create parthenogenetic stem cell lines has been a problem, particularly in the US, for a simple reason. Even though only a few of the 10-20 eggs that are harvested as part of a typical IVF procedure are ever used, common practice, particularly in the US, has been to fertilize all the eggs the woman produces and freeze the excess. That can result in 10 or 15 frozen embryos that are never used, but the physicians running IVF clinics are reluctant to recommend to their patients that they withhold eggs from fertilization because they want to maximize the chance of obtaining successful implantation. That has made it difficult for ISCO and other researchers to obtain unfertilized eggs.
But there is another by-product of the IVF procedure. Among the mature eggs that are fertilized for use in the IVF procedure are a number of immature eggs that are unsuitable for transplant and could not be fertilized successfully to become babies. Until now, those were just medical waste, of no value to anyone. What our discovery means is that we may now be able to use these waste and immature eggs to produce cell lines that could result in cures for millions of people.
As you may recall if you have been following our company, one of our most important goals is to create a "bank" of stem cell lines that will match the immune systems of almost anyone on the globe. This is not like banking of umbilical cord blood, which benefits only the donor and her immediate family; it is instead analogous to a blood bank from which anyone can withdraw blood that his or her body will not reject. To create such a bank, we need donations of unfertilized eggs from women of widely diverse genetic backgrounds. Those are hard to obtain when physicians routinely fertilize all of a woman's mature eggs. However, when all that is asked for is what is now considered waste tissue, it is very easy for both the physician and the mother-to-be to donate. Not only are they helping science and other people, they may get a stem cell line that is a perfect genetic match for themselves.
With that advantage, we at ISCO believe we have made a giant leap forward in our quest to make regenerative medicine available and affordable for everyone.
Kenneth Aldrich, Chairman
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL STEM CELL CORPORATION (ISCO.OB):
International Stem Cell Corporation is a California biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutic and research products. ISCO’s technology, Parthenogenesis, results in the creation of pluripotent human stem cell lines from unfertilized human eggs. ISCO scientists have created the first Parthenogenetic homozygous stem cell line (phSC-Hhom-4) that can be a source of therapeutic cells that will minimize immune rejection after transplantation into hundreds of millions of individuals of differing sexes, ages and racial groups. These advancements offer the potential to create the first true “Stem Cell Bank” and address ethical issues by eliminating the need to use or destroy fertilized embryos. ISCO also produces and markets specialized cells and growth media worldwide for therapeutic research through its subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology. For more information, visit the ISCO website at: www.internationalstemcell.com .
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About Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York:
RMA of New York is the reproductive endocrinology and infertility division of Mount Sinai Medical Center and has been caring for patients in the midtown Manhattan location since 2001, with additional locations in Westchester and Long Island. RMA of New York is a full-service fertility center that consistently achieves high live birth rates, while maintaining low rates of triplet and higher birth outcomes. Highly individualized patient care is offered through seven reproductive endocrinologists, a urologist, a complementary care team of a clinical psychologist and a licensed clinical social worker, and highly qualified staff. For more information, please call 212.756.5777 or visit www.rmany.com.
Statements pertaining to anticipated future financial and/or operating results, future growth in research, technology, clinical development and potential joint venture and other opportunities for the company and its subsidiary, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates,") should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, application of capital resources among competing uses, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the company's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.