Proves hpSCs’ Value in Animal Parkinson's Study
Dear Breakthrough Technology Alert Reader,
International Stem Cell Corp. (OTCBB: ISCO) is, of course, the
company that developed and patented commercializable human
parthenogenetic stem cell (hpSC) science. These stem cells, called either
parthenogenic or parthenogenetic stem cells, come from the parthenotes in
the female ova or its immature form, oocytes. The word oocyte,
incidentally, is pronounced OH-a-site.
Parthenotes, as you know, are cells that have shed half their DNA in
preparation for fertilization. This doesn't mean that these gametes --
ova and spermatozoa -- have only one strand of the double helix, however.
In these cells, both helixes of the double helix are the same.
This means that the cells won't function exactly like normal cells. They
can't, for example, develop into embryos. Obviously, this is a big
advantage for people who oppose the therapeutic use of embryonic stem
cells (eSCs). Another advantage is that with only half the genetic
complexity, these hpSCs are much, much easier to immune-match.
Some scientists believe that only 10 lines would immune-match most of the
human race. This, of course, would simplify stem cell medicine immensely
by removing the need for most immune suppression, which is expensive and
risky. ISCO, in fact, is now gathering unused oocytes from fertility
clinics internationally to build their cell bank.
There are disadvantage to hpSCs, however. One is that a library of the
cell lines must be established, consisting of the multiple cell types
needed to treat all or most patients. Each of those lines will then have
to be converted individually to the specific cells needed for therapeutic
purposes. That process is going to take a while.
There is, however, one medical area that could make use of hpSCs’
less-complex DNA before the entire cell bank library is online. This is
because the immune system works very differently inside the blood brain
barrier (BBB) that forms a protective envelope around the central nervous
system (CNS). The brain and spinal cord are inside the extra barrier of
protection. There, the immune system does not reject cells based on HLA
matching points, the genetic signals that normally trigger rejection.
This lack of immune rejection is the reason that so many embryonic and
adult stem cell researchers have targeted spinal therapies. Currently, Neuralstem
Inc. (AMEX: CUR) is experiencing significant progress using adult
cells from fetal sources to treat ALS.
There are many CNS diseases, however, and ISCO has just announced the
results of animal studies that prove they're also in the game. The
12-week preclinical in vivo Parkinson's disease study demonstrated
significant benefits using hpSCs in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. Read the
press release here.
This is very good news for several reasons. First, it provides more
evidence that hpSCs can function as normal embryonic cells do within host
organisms. For many, this was the biggest question regarding hpSCs.
Second, the Parkinson's results move revenue opportunities, probably from
a Big Pharma deal, much closer. A Parkinson's therapy can be pursued now,
because it does not require completion of the parthenogenic cell bank or
the reprogramming of those lines into therapeutic cells.
While ISCO seemed to be on hold for a period, this development is
extremely good news for the company. ISCO's platform is among the very
biggest in biotech today. Because the company owns the alternative to
embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, much or all of what others
develop using those cells can be duplicated with parthenogenic cells --
without the need to license rights from those who control eSC and ipSC
patents. Moreover, hpSC versions of therapies will have immune rejection
and public opinion advantages over embryonic cells. In many countries,
including Germany, they will also have legal advantages over eSC
therapies. They will, similarly, have cost advantages over many ipSC
The company has recently expanded its skin
care line and is gaining increasing exposure in the cosmetics
market. Progress on the Parkinson's front, combined with other CNS
therapies, represents far greater potential revenue opportunities,
however. These nearer-term goals on the company's road map are exactly
what is needed to hold investor interest while the cell bank library is
That event will change medicine as we know it forever.
Yours for transformational profits,
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