International Stem Cell (ISCO), a California-based biotechnology company developing novel stem cell-based therapies, has entered into a master clinical research agreement with Duke University to conduct clinical trials research in Parkinson's disease using ISCO's neural stem cell product.
ISCO's Parkinson's program uses human parthenogenetic neural stem cells (hPNSC), a novel therapeutic cellular product derived from the company's proprietary histocompatible human pluripotent stem cells. The hPNSC are self-renewing mulitpotent cells that are precursors for the major cells of the central nervous system. The ability of hPNSC to differentiate into dopaminergic neurons and express neurotrophic factors such as glial derived neurotrophic factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor to protect the nigrostriatal system, offers a new opportunity for the treatment of Parkinson's, especially in cases where current dopamine-replacement approaches fail to adequately control the symptoms.
Mark Stacy, M.D., vice dean for clinical research, neurology at Duke University School of Medicine, will be the study's Principal Investigator. The research will be coordinated by the Duke Clinical Research Institute.