The International Stem Cell Corp. (ISCO) based in Carlsbad, California, is planning to carry out a clinical study on implantation of so-called neuronal stem cells in the brains of Parkinson’s patients. The study is to take place in Australia and start as soon as March 2015. It would be the first study of implanting modern, “grown” stem cells into the brains of humans. Previous implantations had used undifferentiated stem cells from the brains of aborted foetuses.
The aim of the Phase 1 study now being planned by the ISCO is firstly, to exclude negative effects of the implantation on patients. Additionally though, first conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness by observing whether and how these neuronal stem cells grow in the brains of the Parkinson’s patients operated on and whether they develop there into fully-blown dopamine neurons.
ISCO uses so-called parthenogenous stem cells, taken from unfertilized female egg cells from women.
Simon Craw von ISCO explains in a newspaper interview that the company chose Australia as the location for the study because the approval authorities there are significantly more cooperative than for example in the USA and checks applications much faster than in other countries. ISCO is reckoning with approval of the clinical study in Australia as soon as the end of February, so that recruitment of study participants could begin in March. The study is then forecast to run for a year before the results are available and can be published.