In an article today in the San Diego Union-Tribune, reporter Bradley Fikes described the move involving International Stem Cell Corp. (ISCO) of Carlsbad as appearing to be a “medical first.” The company's stock price jumped nearly 16 percent today on the news.
“If all goes according to plan, doctors will implant replacement brain cells into 12 Parkinson’s patients, probably in the first quarter of 2016, said Russell Kern, the company’s chief scientific officer. These are called neural precursor cells, a slightly immature kind of neuron. The cells will finish maturing in the brain into the kind of neurons destroyed by the movement disorder.
“The neural precursor cells are derived from the company’s parthenogenetic stem cells, which are produced from unfertilized human egg cells.”International Stem Cell is a publicly traded firm whose researchers pitched proposals with some regularity to the stem cell agency a few years back. It was not known whether any of the applications involved the Parkinson's therapy. The firm’s personnel also attended CIRM board meetings with some frequency. (For earlier items on the company, see here, here, here, here and here.)
The day after Fikes' story appeared, the stem cell posted an item on its Stem Cellar blog about the effort.
Fikes wrote that the firm’s trial will be the first Parkinson’s trial using replacement brain cells grown from stem cells, according to clinicaltrials.gov. The trial will be conducted by the firm’s Australian subsidiary, Cyto Therapeutics.
Fikes reported that company’s effort is similar to other research in the San Diego area.
“That’s also the approach Summit for Stem Cell will take, said stem cell scientist Jeanne Loring, a leader of the Summit for Stem Cell project. The cells make proper connections with the brain better when they are still maturing, said Loring, who’s also head of the regenerative medicine program at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.”
Loring is applying for an award from the stem cell agency but her research is at an earlier stage than that of the Carlsbad firm. Fikes wrote,
“Loring said she views ISCO as a partner in fighting Parkinson’s. One of her former students is working for the company, she said….
“ISCO’s choice of Australia for its streamlined regulatory process makes sense, Loring said. Her team, with U.S.-based academics and medical professionals, doesn’t have the same flexibility as ISCO in looking for clinical trial locations, she said.”
The firm’s stock closed at $5.00 today, up nearly 16 percent. Its 52-week high was $12.30 and low was $1.25. Here is a link to the company’s press release on the news today.
(The information concerning the agency posting an item on the San Diego news was added to this item 24 hours after it was first published.)