International Stem Cell Corporation from California will soon launch a clinical study of a novel treatment option for Parkinson’s disease with the use of pluripotent parthenogenetic stem cells. The company completed all the necessary preclinical studies of their Parkinson’s stem cell therapy in the first quarter of 2015 and is ready now to begin the first clinical trial.
To generate pluripotent parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs), the company's researchers employ parthogenesis – the artificial activation of an unfertilized human egg that results in forming an embryolike cell cluster from which stem cells can be harvested. As producing hpSCs does not require the destruction of a human embryo, the company has overcome the major ethical issue associated with research in human embryonic stem cells.
Apart from this, pluripotent parthenogenetic stem cells can be transplanted to millions of people without raising histocompatibility issues. As these cells usually do not provoke or cause only little immune response of the patient, the company’s researchers suggest that a relatively small number of hpSC lines will be enough to provide sufficient immune-matched cells to cover a large percentage of the population worldwide.
Preclinical studies have shown the safety and efficacy of treating Parkinson’s disease in animals with transplanted human parthogenetic neural stem cells. Although the company is now focusing on Parkinson’s disease, pluripotent parthenogenetic stem cells can be applied in other diseases and conditions.