International Stem Cell Corp., based in Oceanside, California, is a stem cell therapeutics company with a powerful new stem cell technology called "parthenogenesis," which is expected to significantly advance the field of regenerative medicine by addressing the important issue of immune-rejection.
Parthenogenetic stem cells are derived from parthenogenetically activated human oocytes, where electrical or chemical stimuli replaces fertilization. Although not derived from fertilized eggs, these activated oocytes can be developed to the blastocyst stage which can give rise to a parthenogenetic stem cell line.
Of the several different types of stem cells, parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs) offer a unique combination of benefits. For one, parthenogenetic stem cells do not face the controversy associated with embryonic stem cells, which are derived from fertilized eggs (oocytes) that have the potential of developing into a human being. Neither do Parthenogenetic stem cells face the potential risks and regulatory scrutiny associated with induced pluripotent stem cells, which are differentiated cells that are chemically or otherwise driven back to earlier developmental stages requiring significant changes in gene expression that may have unknown biological impacts. Finally, parthenogenetic stem cells are not as limited in their ability to differentiate or proliferate as adult stem cells, which are difficult to obtain and work with.
In addition, different activation techniques applied to human oocytes allow the creation of either HLA heterozygous human parthenogenetic stem cell lines (hpSC), which are exactly HLA-matched/ histocompatible with the oocyte donors, or HLA homozygous hpSC, which may be histocompatible with significant segments of the human population.
The human parthenogenic stem cells pioneered by ISCO have the best characteristics of each of the other classes of stem cells. The ethical advantage of derivation from unfertilized parthenogeneticaly activated oocytes, combined with immune-matching advantage, makes hpSC a very promising source of pluripotent stem cells for cell-based transplantation therapy.
ISCO is the first company to have produced pluripotent human stem cell lines through the intentional use of parthenogenesis. To date ISCO has successfully derived and characterized 10 hpSC lines, including both HLA homozygous and HLA heterozygous lines. One of these lines (hpSC-Hhom-4) carries the most common HLA haplotype found across racial groups within the US population.
The company continues to make hpSCs available to academic and corporate research worldwide for their exploration of a wide range of disease targets.
For additional information, visit the company's website at InternationalStemCell.com
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