It is generally accepted that the first successful organ transplant was the one performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston in 1954. Dr. Murray, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1990, and his team transplanted a kidney from one identical twin to another. Later, in 1967, Dr. Christian Bernard, a South African heart surgeon, garnered international acclaim after he performed the first human heart transplant at Groote Schur Hospital in Cape Town. Since then, the field of organ transplantation has grown. Data (http://dtn.fm/QMlg0) published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, shows that ‘each day, an average of 79 people receive organ transplants’. Some estimates (http://dtn.fm/OgPb3) are even higher. The Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) states ‘it is estimated that approximately 600,000 Americans benefit from some form of transplant each year ’.
Yet the same U.S. government data shows that is not enough to satisfy the need and so ‘an average of 22 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs’. This is why professionals in the health care industry are increasingly turning to companies like the International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCQB: ISCO) and their regenerative technologies that augment or replace organ transplants.
The International Stem Cell Corporation’s human parthenogenetic stem cell (hpSC) technology holds out a life-saving promise to those with end-stage organ failure in two ways. First, it circumvents the problem that arises when the immune system attempts to reject the transplanted organ, which it perceives as an alien thing. In early transplant operations, medications were administered to suppress the immune system, but such an approach leaves the body, essentially, defenseless against other even minor threats.
The rejection problem arises because embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are heterozygous. i.e., they generally have different forms of genes (alleles) at each genetic position of the paternal and maternal chromosomes. Alleles contain the mechanism that determines between domestic and foreign bodies in the form of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes. ‘Since hESCs are derived from fertilized embryos, they carry the genes of a unique individual, thus the therapeutic cells derived from hESCs will carry alleles that can be recognized as foreign and be rejected by most patients unless they receive immunosuppressive therapy. Such therapy is costly, has significant side effects, and often is disabling in the long term.’
‘In contrast, the hpSCs developed by ISCO are derived from unfertilized eggs (oocytes) that have been shown in peer-reviewed journals to exhibit unlimited proliferation potential and are pluripotent (can become cells from all three germ layers that form a human being). Most significantly, hpSCs can be created in a ‘homozygous’ state in which the alleles, including the HLA alleles, are the same at each genetic position. When these HLA alleles are also found with a high frequency in a population, these ‘HLA-homozygous’ stem cells and their therapeutic derivatives have the potential to be immune-matched to millions of people. For example, ISCO’s first homozygous stem cell line with high-frequency HLA alleles has the potential to be immune-matched to an estimated 75 million people worldwide.’
Back in 2010, ISCO added two world-leading immuno-geneticists to its scientific advisory board to study the immune-matching properties of its human parthenogenetic stem cell technology and the potential for each hpSC-derived therapeutic cell to be an immune match for millions of people. Dr. Hans-Dieter Volk, Professor of Immunology and Chair of the Institute of Medical Immunology and Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) at Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, and Dr. Matthias von Herrath, Professor at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology at University of San Diego, are both highly regarded immuno-genetics experts internationally.
Second, hpSCs may obviate the need for an organ transplant. ISCO’s hpSCs are similar to human embryonic stem cells in that they have the potential to be differentiated into many different cells in the human body. Thus, they may replace diseased or malfunctioning cells in the liver, the eye, and in the nervous system before a full transplant operation is required.
For more information, visit www.internationalstemcell.com
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