Earlier today, International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO-OTC) announced that it has signed a master clinical research agreement with Duke University to conduct clinical trials research in Parkinson's disease using ISCO's innovative neural stem cell product. The research is expected to be coordinated by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and led by Mark Stacy, M.D., vice dean for clinical research, neurology at Duke University School of Medicine and one of the preeminent experts on neurology, having published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers on Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. The collaboration with DCRI also provides ISCO with access to Duke's clinical expertise in cell therapy clinical trials as well as an extensive patient population, giving the Company an opportunity to evaluate its stem cell therapy in Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects four million to six million people worldwide (Source: National Parkinson Foundation). It belongs to a group of motor system disorders that result from the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. The global Parkinson's disease therapeutics market reached nearly $3 billion in 2011. Notably, the U.S. represents 35% of the global market, with an estimated value of over $1 billion (Source: Global Data, 2012).
About International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO)
ISCO is focused on the therapeutic applications of human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs) to treat diseases of the brain, liver, and the eye. ISCO’s proprietary technology is based on the creation of stem cells through parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction that involves the stimulation of a human oocyte (egg) to start the cell division process without actual fertilization. Since the eggs are not fertilized, no viable human embryo is created nor destroyed for the generation of ISCO’s hpSC lines. The Company believes that these therapeutic stem cells avoid the safety, economic, and ethical concerns inherent with existing stem cell technologies.
The Company’s work on Parkinson's disease focuses on the replacement of dopaminergic neurons, the loss of which is known to be the cause of the disease. ISCO has developed a new method to generate hpSC-derived high-purity populations of neural stem cells (hpNSCs) and further differentiate them into dopaminergic neurons suitable for implantation. The administration of hpNSCs offers a new opportunity for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, especially in cases where current dopamine-replacement approaches fail to adequately control the symptoms.
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