International Stem Cell Corporation, Inc. has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Lifeline Cell Technology, LLC, has entered into a research agreement with the Regents of the University of California for three studies, one of which is focused on stem cell therapy for the possible treatment of macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
International Stem Cell Corporation's focus is on the development of stem cell based treatment of diabetes, liver disease and diseases of the retina, and on providing specialized cells and media to scientists to conduct their cell based research. It maintains corporate and research facilities in Oceanside, California; production and product development in Walkersville, Maryland; and international research facilities in Moscow, Russia.
The project with the University of California is entitled "Characterization of New Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines and the Differentiation into Retinal Progenitor Cell" and will be under the direction of Dr. Hans Keirstead of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University's Irvine Campus.
The research agreement will involve three specific projects. The first two projects will study Lifeline's proprietary stem cell lines and how they compare to traditionally-derived human embryonic stem cells.
The third project involves expanding Lifeline's ongoing studies into differentiating Lifeline's proprietary stem cells into retinal cells and their testing in animal models. The goal is the clinically compliant derivation and functional characterization of high purity populations of retinal pigment epithelial cells and photoreceptors.
This project has three aims: The first aim will improve methods to change Lifeline's proprietary stem cells into retinal cells. This research will be conducted in an FDA-compliant manner under the supervision of Regulatory Quality Assurance Officers.
The second aim will test whether Lifeline's proprietary stem cells, when transplanted into rodent models with retinal degeneration, will redistribute throughout the retina, integrate and continue differentiation.
The third aim will assess the ability of the transplanted retinal cells to slow down or reverse the damage caused by macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa in the rodent models.
"This is an important step in testing the efficacy of our proprietary stem cell lines and how they compare to traditionally-derived embryonic stem cells," said Jeffrey Janus, President of International Stem Cell Corporation.