Tuesday, 5 August 2014

ISCO Launches Stroke Program With Tulane University

International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO), a California-based biotechnology company developing stem cell based therapies, announced today that it has launched a new Stroke Program. Together with Tulane University, ISCO will study the impact of human parthenogenetic neural stem cells (hpNSC) transplantation in a pre-clinical rodent model of ischemic stroke as a first step toward the clinical development of a potential stroke treatment. The proof-of-concept study will be done in the laboratory of Dr. Jean-Pyo Lee, a well-known expert in the field of regenerative medicine.

"Evaluating our human neural stem cells for treatment of stroke is a logical next step, as it should allow us to get a lot of additional value from the safety studies performed for the Parkinson's disease program and advance the possibility of treating another largely unmet medical need. We expect to provide an update on the stroke study in Q4 2014. At the same time, our Parkinson's disease program of course remains our top priority." said Dr. Andrey Semechkin, ISCO's Co-Chairman and CEO.

Although stroke is known to cause long-term neurological disability, there is evidence that transplantation of NSC may improve patient outcomes as an adjunctive therapeutic strategy. ISCO's new stroke program will use the same cellular product as the Parkinson's disease program.

There is significant overlap in the safety datasets and manufacturing methods that would be required to file an IND for stroke, making it a logical follow-on indication. hpNSC generated from ISCO's propriety human parthenogenetic stem cells using a cGMP method based on the published protocol are already under development for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. ISCO  has a considerable amount of safety data on hpNSC from the previously discussed studies in the Parkinson's program that are designed to support the planned IND filing, including evidence from the primate studies that these cells can reduce brain inflammation.

According to the National Stroke Association stroke is a leading cause of death In the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people each year, and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability. Approximately 795,000 strokes will occur each year, one occurring every 40 seconds, and taking a life approximately every four minutes. About 87% of strokes are ischemic. Approximately two million brain cells die every minute during stroke, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death. The estimated direct and indirect cost of stroke in the United States in 2010 is $73.7 billion.

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