GENET archive


HUMANS: Creation of human stem cell lines that can become any cell type using unfertilized eggs

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SOURCE: Lifeline Cell Technology, USA

AUTHOR: Press Release


DATE:   28.06.2007

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Co-authored by scientists at International Stem Cell Corporation/Lifeline Cell Technology

Appears in Cloning and Stem Cells Journal

Scientists at Lifeline Cell Technology, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB:ISCO), have successfully created six unique human stem cell lines that appear capable of differentiation into any cell type found in the human body using an efficient method that does not require the use of fertilized embryos.

The creation of these new and unique stem cell lines, called parthenogenetic stem cells or phESC, was reported Tuesday in the online edition of Cloning and Stem Cells Journal

in a peer-review scientific paper whose primary author is Elena S. Revazova, M.D., PhD, and Chief Scientist at International Stem Cell Corporation in Oceanside, California.

Dr. Revazova is one of the world’s experts in creating cell lines, and was formerly one of the leading cell biologists in the Soviet Union before becoming a US citizen. She leads a team of researchers at International Stem Cell Corporation, which develops stem cells for the potential treatment of diabetes, liver disease and diseases of the retina, and develops specialized cells and media that scientists use in their stem cell research. It maintains corporate and research facilities in Oceanside, California; production and product development in Walkersville, Maryland; and maintains collaboration with a major research facility in Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Revazova’s paper entitled ”Patient-Specific Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Parthenogenetic Blastocysts”, describes a method using donated unfertilized eggs or ”oocytes” yielding six unique stem cell lines. The paper also reports that these newly created phESC lines have the same potential to become any cell in the human body, as do traditionally-derived embryonic stem cells made from fertilized embryos.

”We have demonstrated a method of creating parthenogenetic human embryonic cells” and that such cells ”can be differentiated in vivo into the three germ layers that lead to all cell types found in a human body,” reported Dr. Revazova in the research paper. The paper also reports that, ”before now, all attempts to produce human parthenogenetic embryonic stem cells have failed.”

Co-author Jeffrey Janus, President of ISC, said the research showed promise for creating therapeutically useful cells for the woman who donated the source oocyte ”because they are ’MHC-matched’ to the oocyte donor.”

”Parthenogenetic stem cell lines that are genetically related to the recipient may overcome rejection problems and thus may have the potential to give significant therapeutic benefit to patients,” he said. In addition, ”Parthenogenetically-derived stem cells provide an alternative to embryonic stem cells derived from fertilized embryos or from somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technology.”

The paper also reports that the new phESC lines were created with a protocol that minimizes animal-derived components, making the derived phESC lines more suitable for potential clinical use.

The ability of phESC lines to form derivates from three germ layers that lead to all the cells found in a human body was proven by subcutaneous injection of the phESC into immunodeficient rats and mice and the subsequent formation of complex tissue structures called teratomas. Histological examination demonstrated the presence of organized structures, including epithelia, capsula, smooth muscule, adipose tissue, hematogenic tissue, neural tubes and glandular epithelia. The research also demonstrated that phESC were capable of giving rise to beating cardiomyocyte-like cells.

The paper states that ”further investigations of the characteristics of phESC lines and their immune matching are necessary to determine their suitability for use in cell therapy.”



International Stem Cell is a biotechnology company currently focused on developing therapeutic and research products. In the area of therapeutic product development, ISCO’s objective is to create an unlimited source of human cells for use in the treatment of several diseases, including diabetes, liver disease and retinal disease through cell transplant therapy. In furtherance of this objective, ISCO is currently developing human stem cells, techniques to cause those stem cells to be ”differentiated” into the specific cell types required for transplant, and manufacturing protocols to produce the cells without contamination with animal by-products, a characteristic likely to be important in meeting U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements. ISCO through its subsidiary, Lifeline Cell Technology, produces and markets a line of products for research that includes serum-free growth media and reagents essential to the process of creating and differentiating stem cells into therapeutic products needed for therapeutic cell transplantation research to academic and commercial researchers in related fields. For more information, visit the ISCO website at: or



This news release contains forward-looking statements relating to the business of ISCO and its subsidiary. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements regarding ISCO, its technology, clinical development and potential applications, constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need to obtain future capital, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the company’s business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. International Stem Cell Corporation disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

                                  PART 2

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AUTHOR: The Associated Press, by Malcolm Ritter


DATE:   28.06.2007

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Scientists say they’ve created embryonic stem cells by stimulating unfertilized eggs, a significant step toward producing transplant tissue that’s genetically matched to women.

The advance suggests that someday, a woman who wants a transplant to treat a condition like diabetes or a spinal cord injury could provide eggs to a lab, which in turn could create tissue that her body wouldn’t reject.

Ethicists disagreed on whether the strategy would avoid the long-standing ethical objections to creating embryonic stem cells by other means.

Such cells can develop into virtually any tissue of the body, and scientists hope to harness them for producing specialized tissues like nerve cells or pancreas cells to treat a range of illnesses. But the process of harvesting the stem cells destroys embryos, which many people oppose.

To create tissues that genetically match a patient, some scientists are trying to develop a process called therapeutic cloning, in which DNA from the patient is inserted into an unfertilized egg, an embryo is produced and stem cells are harvested. But nobody has made that work in humans.

The new work tries another tack: stimulating a woman’s unfertilized egg to begin embryonic development. Scientists believe this development can’t continue long enough to produce a baby, but as the new work shows, it can produce stem cells that are genetically matched to the egg donor.

Such an approach could not provide matched cells for men, of course.

The work, published online by the journal Cloning and Stem Cells, is reported by scientists from Lifeline Cell Technology of Walkersville, Md., and from Moscow.

Jeffrey Janus, president of Lifeline and an author of the study, noted that stem cells produced by the method might prove useful for patients other than the egg donor, in combination with anti-rejection therapy. That’s the case with standard stem cell lines created from ordinary embryos, he said.

He and colleagues report producing six lines of embryonic stem cells, one of which had chromosome abnormalities. They obtained their eggs from five women who were having eggs harvested for test-tube fertilization, and who agreed to donate some for the research.

”It’s a big deal, it’s a very nice advance,” said Kent Vrana of Pennsylvania State University, who has done similar work in monkeys. The process appears efficient, he said, and it provides ”an additional tool” beyond therapeutic cloning.

George Daley, a scientist at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, called the work interesting.

”It’s a new type of embryonic stem cell line from a different kind of embryo,” he said. ”We just don’t know whether these cells will be as good as embryonic stem cells from naturally fertilized embryos.”

One question, he said, is whether the lack of a father’s DNA contribution would impair the performance of the stem cells. DNA in sperm carries particular markers that differ from those found on DNA in an egg, and these markers affect the activity of specific genes.

Ronald M. Green, a Dartmouth College ethicist, said he believes the egg-stimulation process will prove an ethically acceptable way to create stem cells.

”People will see that these are activated eggs ... they do not of themselves ever develop into a human being,” he said. ”This is not anything biologically or morally like a human embryo, and it’s a very good way of trying to provide human embryonic stem cells that does not involve the destruction of an embryo.”

But the Rev. Tad Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia disagreed.

”My view is that if these grow as organized embryos for the first few days and then arrest, they may just be very short-lived human beings,” he said.

”One is very possibly dealing with a defective human being. And at a minimum, the benefit of the doubt should be given here, and these embryos should not be created for the purposes of destroying them.”



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