International Stem Cell Corp. has made bold progress developing ethically valid human parthenogenetic stem cell (hpSC) technology that allows for pluripotent stem cell creation from unfertilized eggs, and while this technology has incredibly broad application potential, it is the recent announcement by ISCO’s R&D team regarding advancement of the company’s transplantable human cornea program which currently captures the attention of both investors and ophthalmologists.
The June 28 release by ISCO, detailing development by the company’s R&D team of a new method for deriving corneal endothelium-like cells, largely validated prior data sets gathered from collaborator Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital in India, who has helped tremendously with the program’s efforts to bring about a solution to the massive demand for corneal tissue. You see, the ophthalmologic field is overwhelmed by demand for vital corneal transplants, but the finite supply from donations prohibits any real solution. Well, not only does the ISCO technology offer real hope for a fully functional transplantable cornea, but the prerequisite technology and tissue formation method itself could be used for standalone medical treatment as well, helping to promote wound healing and corneal regeneration.
These are finer points of the amazing work being done by ISCO touched upon by Bethesda, Maryland, leading ophthalmologist Charles Bahn, MD, a specialist in corneal and external eye disease, in a recent report. Bahn joined a chorus of voices from the medical community regarding the potential of research being conducted by International Stem Cell Corp. for solving the growing shortfall of available transplants. Dr. Bahn really emphasized the importance of the technology fundamentals as well, as the cells derived in the process, in and of themselves, represent a tremendous therapeutic/regenerative medicine breakthrough and in general this technology could help substantially delimit transplant infections (like HIV or hepatitis).
That is the beauty of stem cell approaches for such problems as degenerative eye disease, using the body’s own tissues to heal it, or rather, create the conditions required for the body to heal itself via natural tissue aggregation and cell activity. Bahn and other medical professionals, who see consistently growing numbers of patients in dire need, with degenerative eye problems and corneal disease that could directly benefit from the tissues made available through ISCO’s diligent research efforts, are eager to see success out of the company’s transplantable human cornea program.
The global market for this technology is immeasurably vast, but India alone has some 4M corneal vision impaired patients with protractedly limited access to corneal tissues, to quantify a single slice. The strong foothold in India and the Asian market already established by ISCO will prove quite beneficial to shareholders as the platform emerges to commercial availability and, as VP of R&D for ISCO, Dr. Ruslan Semechkin, noted in the June 28 release, this milestone work in advancing the usable cornea platform also brings with it additional licensing opportunities, as the benefit of these endothelium-like cells produced in the new method are far-reaching.
ISCO plans to work hand-in-hand with their collaborative network in India (including the All-India Institute for Medical Sciences) and clinical affiliates elsewhere to advance validation of the new method and cell applications.
Exciting times for the field of ophthalmology made possible by ISCO’s cutting-edge hpSC tech and the market’s are buzzing over the long-term impact such technology would have, not just for patients whose quality of life could be dramatically improved, but for shareholders who stand to benefit from facilitating such a revolutionary breakthrough in tissue engineering science, as the creation of fully-functional human corneas ready for transplant could reshape the face of an entire industry.
For more information on International Stem Cell Corp. and their rapidly advancing portfolio of therapeutic cell-based technologies and cosmetic product applications (including UniStemCell™ which promises to be the first true stem cell bank, as well as their Lifeline Cell Technology and Lifeline Skin Care subsidiaries), visit the company’s Web site at: www.InternationalStemCell.com
For additional information on ISCO, visit the company’s website at www.internationalstemcell.com
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