There is scant doubt that International Stem Cell Corporation’s (OTCQB: ISCO) attention and energy have been focused on creating advances in the field of regenerative medicine. On the contrary, ISCO continues to break new ground in settings where cells are being considered for use or are already being used in research and therapy. ISCO’s development and application of parthenogenesis, an impressive new stem cell technology, is a clear case in point.
Parthenogenesis is a stem cell development process that tackles the problem of immune-rejection. The process uses unfertilized human eggs to create a new class of specialized, pluripotent human stem cells better known as human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs). ISCO’s research and development team has been using these stem cells to make important breakthroughs in the treatment of several diseases, especially in instances where cellular replacement has been shown to be clinically effective but there are no practical sources of safe, ethical cells with which to treat patients. HpSCs are ideal in such situations, because they have been designed so that they can be immune-matched to millions of people. They also have many of the advantages typically linked to embryonic stem cells without most of the ethical issues. Furthermore, a small fraction of hpSC lines can provide more than enough immune-matched cells for a large fraction of the world’s population.
ISCO’s scientists have been assessing the use of hpSCs for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other therapeutic indications, based on the company’s stem cell technology platform. For instance, they are striving to bring a stroke program into clinical trial using ISC-hpNSC and also developing a therapy for osteoarthritis that uses the applicable patient’s own cells. All of these initiatives are multi-year research and development efforts.
To garner income now, ISCO operates two successful business units, Lifeline Cell Technology and Lifeline Skin Care. For years, ISCO has been developing these wholly-owned subsidiaries so that they, in turn, can develop therapeutic products from its own intellectual property. Through Lifeline Skin Care and Lifeline Cell Technology, ISCO has been generating income from the sale of products that were designed using the company’s scientific discoveries. These products embody practical, short-term applications of ISCO’s larger human cell research capabilities.
At its cosmeceutical business, Lifeline Skin Care, ISCO’s employees have been developing, manufacturing and marketing cosmetic skin care products using a proprietary extract derived from the company’s pluripotent stem cells. At its research products business, Lifeline Cell Technology, the team has been creating, manufacturing and marketing human cell culture products, including frozen human “primary” cells and the reagents needed to grow, maintain and differentiate them.
In an effort to maintain its forward momentum, ISCO has been using its scientific discoveries to achieve both immediate and future goals. On the one hand, the company has used its discoveries to create products currently being sold by its two successful, revenue-generating subsidiaries. On the other hand, ISCO also intends to use its discoveries to develop breakthrough treatments for a number of worrisome health conditions and diseases.
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