When considering the recent progress made by International Stem Cell Corporation in the development of dramatic new approaches for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, it's easy to forget the impact such a technology could have on people around the world, and the potential size of the industry it could spawn. Though the exact cause of Parkinson's disease is not known, the ultimate effect is the destruction of critical dopamine generating cells in the brain. The resulting impairment in nerve operation leads to progressive problems with motor functions, and eventually other debilitating effects.
According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, as many as a million people in the U.S. alone are estimated to have Parkinson's disease, with roughly 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year. On a worldwide basis, as many as 10 million people could be afflicted, though it is believed that many cases go undetected, at least initially. The costs of dealing with Parkinson's is imposing, totaling roughly $25 billion annually in the U.S., with individual therapeutic surgery costing up to $100,000 per patient. Although there has been some success treating the early motor symptoms of Parkinson's through attempts to chemically replace missing dopamine, the efficacy of the treatment decreases over time.
For these reasons, the initial success that ISCO has had using its proprietary parthenogenetic stem cells has caught the attention of many people both in and out of the medical establishment. Though still in the animal study stage, indications are that neuronal cells, generated from the company's parthenogenetic pluripotent stem cells, can be safely introduced and successfully treat Parkinson's symptoms. It's something never before accomplished, opening the door to the possibility of an entirely new treatment option.
For additional information, visit InternationalStemCell.com
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