International Stem Cell Corporation announced that its human parthenogenetic stem cell lines will be used in studies aimed at creating liver cells to treat human liver disease.
The studies will be carried out under a Material Transfer Agreement between ISCO and the University of California, San Francisco. Holger Willenbring, MD, UCSF assistant professor of surgery, will direct the research.
“The fact that Dr. Willenbring and the University of California at San Francisco are testing the ability of ISCO’s human parthenogenetic stem cells to form liver cells is a strong validation of their potential value in creating therapeutic cells that have significant immune rejection advantages and significant ethical advantages,” said Jeffrey Janus, ISCO’s President.
ISCO’s human parthenogenetic stem cells are created from unfertilized human eggs and do not involve the destruction of fertilized embryos, yet share with conventional human embryonic stem cells the ability to differentiate into all tissue types. They also are the first step in solving one of the major obstacles to stem cell therapy, the rejection of implanted cells by the patient’s own immune system.
Human parthenogenetic stem cells will be expanded and differentiated into liver cells in culture. The function and hence therapeutic value of these liver cells will be tested by transplantation into an immune-deficient mouse model of human liver disease.