International Stem Cell (OTCBB:ISCO) announced Tuesday it successfully completed the first series of animal trials of its neuronal cells derived from human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSC).
The company said the cells were able to survive in the brains of mice without producing a tumour. It said the results represent a key milestone towards to possible therapeutic applications of hpSCs, including the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, though the cause of cell death is unknown. Symptoms mainly affect movement, and include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty walking.
Dr. Albrecht Muller, professor at the Institute of Medical Radiology and Cell Research at Wurzburg University in Germany, said: "Human parthenogenetic stem cells are potentially very promising candidates for use in regenerative medicine primarily because of the possibility that they immune-match a large number of recipients.
"The results of these safety and survival studies is a very important step along the path towards the clinical use of such cells."
The company's parthenogenetic stem cell technology can be used to derive pluripotent stem cells, meaning they can be transformed into any cell type in the body. The parthenogenetic stem cells are also derived from unfertilized eggs, avoiding the ethical issues behind the destruction of viable human embryos.
These cells have also demonstrated they are better in terms of the immune system, as one single stem cell line can be genetically matched to millions of people, reducing the need for immunosuppressants.
"One of [International Stem Cell]'s main therapeutic targets is treatment of Parkinson's disease, a common neurodegenerative disease in the US, where the current standard of care is designed mostly to treat the symptoms, but not the disease," commented vice president, Dr. Ruslan Semechkin.
"These results clearly represent an important step towards the therapeutic application of human parthenogenetic stem cells derived cells in addressing the basic underlying mechanisms and potentially transforming the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases."
On the OTC Bulletin Board, International Stem Cell shares rose 7.25% to $0.74, as of 9:57 am EDT.