International Stem Cell Corp. (ISCO) and the Push to Eradicate Parkinson’s Disease
Of the many diseases now undergoing research for the possible use of stem cell treatment, diseases associated with neurological damage represent some of the most exciting possibilities. Neurological diseases have been among the most intransigent, refusing to yield the answers needed to gain a complete understanding or provide comprehensive treatments.
Parkinson’s disease is a good example. For reasons not yet clear, a critical part of the brain can, with age, lose cells that produce dopamine, an important neurotransmitter. Deficiencies or excesses of dopamine have been implicated in a number of neurological diseases, including schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In the case of Parkinson’s, the result is difficulty with simple motor movements, making it hard to walk or to do fine movements. Later it can become difficult to even stand or talk, and can lead to various forms of dementia. Although some occurrences of Parkinson’s are known to be associated with genetic factors, the underlying causes of most cases are still unknown. Although various drugs have been used to help overcome Parkinson’s symptoms, with so much yet to be learned about the disease itself there seemed little hope for a cure.
Much of that has changed now with the development of stem cell technology. Recent research suggests that stem cells can be used to repair various types of neurological damage, actually generating new nerve cells that can be introduced to damaged areas. Diseases like Parkinson’s and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) are now being targeted as front-line candidates for stem cell research, and important progress is being made.
International Stem Cell Corp., developers of a stem cell technology based upon parthenogenesis, the creation of pluripotent human stem cells from unfertilized oocytes (eggs), is primarily focused on three therapeutic markets, one of which is Parkinson’s disease. Parthenogenetic stem cells are of special value because they have a number of advantages over other stem cell sources. They do not come from human embryos, so there is no controversy about embryo destruction. They are pluripotent, able to differentiate into many different types of cell. And finally, because of the way they are produced, parthenogenetic stem cells are far less likely to face immune rejection by the patient.
For additional information, visit www.InternationalStemCell.com
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