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Creation of Human Stem Cell Lines that can Become any Cell Type Using Unfertilized Eggs

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Scientists at Lifeline Cell Technology, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Stem Cell Corporation have created six human stem cell lines that appear capable of differentiation into any cell type found in the human body using an efficient method that does not require the use of fertilized embryos.

The creation of these new stem cell lines, called parthenogenetic stem cells or phESC, was reported Tuesday in the online edition of Cloning and Stem Cells Journal in a peer-review scientific paper whose primary author is Elena S. Revazova, M.D., PhD, and Chief Scientist at International Stem Cell Corporation in Oceanside, California.

Dr. Revazova’s paper entitled “Patient-Specific Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Parthenogenetic Blastocysts”, describes a method using donated unfertilized eggs or oocytes yielding six stem cell lines. The paper also reports that these phESC lines have the same potential to become any cell in the human body, as do traditionally-derived embryonic stem cells made from fertilized embryos.

“We have demonstrated a method of creating parthenogenetic human embryonic cells” and that such cells “can be differentiated in vivo into the three germ layers that lead to all cell types found in a human body,” reported Dr. Revazova in the research paper. The paper also reports that, “before now, all attempts to produce human parthenogenetic embryonic stem cells have failed.”

Co-author Jeffrey Janus, President of ISC, said the research showed promise for creating therapeutically useful cells for the woman who donated the source oocyte “because they are ‘MHC-matched’ to the oocyte donor.”

“Parthenogenetic stem cell lines that are genetically related to the recipient may overcome rejection problems and thus may have the potential to give significant therapeutic benefit to patients,” he said. In addition, “Parthenogenetically-derived stem cells provide an alternative to embryonic stem cells derived from fertilized embryos or from somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technology.”

The paper also reports that the new phESC lines were created with a protocol that minimizes animal-derived components, making the derived phESC lines more suitable for potential clinical use.

The paper states that “further investigations of the characteristics of phESC lines and their immune matching are necessary to determine their suitability for use in cell therapy.”