Potential of parthenogenetic stem cells for Parkinson’s disease therapy
International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO; CA, USA) prepares for clinical study of a novel treatment option for Parkinson’s disease.
ISCO (CA, USA) is employing parthogenesis, utilizing unfertilized human eggs to create pluripotent parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs), which can be immune matched to millions of people. The company’s data suggest that a relatively small number of hpSC lines could provide sufficient immune-matched cells to cover a large percentage of the world’s population, minimizing the effects of autoimmune rejection and allowing stem cell therapy research to continue. hpSC treatment does not require the destruction of human embryos, thus avoiding some of the ethical issues associated with research in this field.
A number of diseases and conditions have been identified by ISCO as having potential for treatment with hpSCs, but the company’s leading indication is for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra, leading to a reduction in dopamine in the brain and therefore loss of regulation of movement. It primarily affects those aged over 50 years, and has no known cure at present.
“In the first quarter of 2015 we completed all the necessary preclinical studies of our Parkinson’s program and formally submitted our application to begin the first clinical study of this novel approach to treating this debilitating disease in humans,” explained ISCO CEO Andrey Semechkin. “We continue to expect to make significant progress during the rest of 2015 towards our goal of providing a viable treatment option for people with Parkinson’s disease.”
In preclinical studies ISCO has demonstrated the safety and efficacy of treating Parkinson’s disease symptoms in animals with transplanted human parthogenetic neural stem cells. Going forward, the company is looking to begin its Phase I/IIa clinical studies through its subsidiary Cyto Therapeutics Pty Ltd.
– Written by Hannah Wilson