Human pluripotent stem cells are a type of cell that is self-replicating. In simple terms, they clone themselves. These are typically derived from human embryos and have the possibility to grow into virtually any type of cell in the body. The first type of pluripotent stem cells were embryonic stem cells (ESC). Unfortunately, there are moral issues associated with these, since their creation involves the destruction of a human embryo. This said, a new type of pluripotent stem cell has been pioneered. These come from unfertilized eggs being “tricked” into developing as embryos without being fertilized. These stem cells do not involve destroying an embryo, and therefore avoid the associated moral issues. These new stem cells are called human parthenogenetic stem cells (hPSC).
Human parthenogenetic stem cells not only erase the moral issues associated with ESC, they also maintain many of the advantages. Some of these advantages include immune matching, pluripotency, proliferation, genetic reprogramming, and the ability to use stem cells to cure genetic diseases. Pluripotency is when the stem cells can change into the full range of specialized stem cell types, while immune matching is when cells derived from stem cells match other patients to avoid rejection problems. Proliferation is when the stem cells easily expand, and genetic reprogramming is whether or not the source of the stem cells have been modified by external factors.
International Stem Cell Corp. (OTCQB: ISCO) is a biotechnological company that started developing this new type of stem cell derived from unfertilized eggs in order to help treat severe diseases of the nervous system, liver and eyes. Some of the diseases that are in the process of being treated by this new line of stem cells include Parkinson’s disease, ischemic strokes, metabolic liver diseases, retinal blindness, and corneal blindness, among others. After showing significant results in earlier therapies, ISCO has progressed to Phase I clinical trials for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
For more information, visit www.internationalstemcell.com
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