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International Stem Cell Corp. (ISCO) Bypasses Embryonic Ethical Debates by using Non-Embryonic Stem Cells for Research

The ethical controversy surrounding stem cell research does not reach the International Stem Cell Corp. as it employs non-embryonic cells (unfertilized) for exploring and attempting to treat different diseases. The company has developed the first collection of non-embryonic human stem cells that are stored in the UniStemCell Bank. When properly stimulated, the unfertilized eggs begin dividing into usable cells called human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSC). The process, called parthenogenesis, creates stem cells that are self-renewing and have high potential for being compatible with a large portion of the population. A single cell line can treat millions of people with a low risk of immune rejection, a common issue in stem cell therapies. The company intends to use this system on eye, nervous system, and liver diseases with high expectations for successful results.

The controversy surrounding embryonic stem cell research begins with the view that life starts at conception with the embryo. The formation of a human stem cell line means the destruction of a human embryo. Therefore, the rights and status of an embryo are called into question.

Fortunately, the International Stem Cell Corp. side steps this controversy by using unfertilized embryos in its research. Stem cells have the capability of becoming any and all types of cells in the body, making them invaluable when combating degenerative diseases. However, the use of non-embryonic adult stem cells produces the possibility of immune rejection while embryonic cells lessen that chance. The company’s production of human leukocyte antigen genes (HLA) from parthenogenesis greatly diminishes this risk while keeping an ethical advantage.

The rapid division of these cells into usable regenerative ones means potentially effective cellular replacement therapies. The company has developed treatments for liver and retinal diseases that replace aged or damaged cells with newer ones. The company also recently announced its progression with clinical trials in treating Parkinson’s disease in Australia.

The International Stem Cell Corp. continues its goal of developing innovative restorative stem cell treatments for diseases that cause deterioration.

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