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International Stem Cell Corporation Engages Leading Immunogeneticists to Advance its Industry-first, Immune-matched Stem Cells

Posted: April 14, 2010 at 8:22 am

International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB:ISCO),, today added two world-leading immunogeneticists to its scientific advisory board. They and ISCO scientists will study the immune-matching properties of ISCO’s human parthenogenetic stem cell (hpSC) technology and the potential for each hpSC-derived therapeutic cell to be an immune-match for millions of people.

Dr. Hans-Dieter Volk, Professor of Immunology and Chair of the Institute of Medical Immunology and Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) at Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, and Dr. Matthias von Herrath, Professor at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology at University of San Diego, have agreed to join ISCO’s scientific advisory board. Both have dedicated their careers to experimental and clinical immunology and are highly regarded immunogenetics experts internationally. They will be most valuable as ISCO attempts to demonstrate the unique immune-matching benefits of the hpSC technology experimentally and in clinical practice.

“We believe that providing human cells that can minimize rejection though immune-matching to the recipient is one of the most important tasks in developing effective regenerative medicine therapies,” says Dr. Simon Craw, Vice President at ISCO. “We look forward to Drs. Volk and von Herrath helping us try to demonstrate how that need can be met with our parthenogenetic stem cells.”

Embryonic stem cells (hESC) almost invariably have different forms of genes (called “alleles”) at each genetic position of the paternal and maternal chromosomes, i.e. they are “heterozygous.” This includes the human leukocyte antigen (“HLA”) genes that are largely responsible for the distinction between “self” and “foreign,” and thus acceptance or rejection of transplants. Since hESC are derived from fertilized embryos, they carry the genes of a unique individual, thus the therapeutic cells derived from hESC will carry HLA alleles that can be recognized as foreign and be rejected by most patients unless they receive immunosuppressive therapy. Such therapy is costly, has significant side effects, and often is disabling in the long term.

Like most individuals in the population, induced pluripotent stem cells (“iPS” cells) and adult stem cells are also predominantly heterozygous because they carry paternal and maternal chromosomes. They are a perfect immune match to the patient they came from and are therefore typically administered back to that same individual (“autologous therapy”). However, they would likely be rejected by most other recipients. Autologous therapy is time-consuming and expensive, which goes against the cost containment pressures globally. In addition, the quality of the therapy is directly related to the ability to secure clinically sufficient numbers of functional cells from the patient, which often poses a significant problem in clinical practice.

In contrast, the hpSCs developed by ISCO are derived from unfertilized eggs (“oocytes”) that have been shown in peer-reviewed journals to exhibit unlimited proliferation potential and are pluripotent (can become cells from all three germ layers that form a human being). Most significantly, hpSC can be created in a “homozygous” state, where the alleles, including the HLA alleles, are the same at each genetic position. When these HLA alleles are also found with a high frequency in a population, these “HLA-homozygous” stem cells and their therapeutic derivatives have the potential to be immune matched to millions of people. For example, ISCO’s first homozygous stem cell line with high-frequency HLA alleles has the potential to be immune matched to an estimated 75 million people worldwide.

Dr. Volk says: “Using my experience from transplantation immunology and medicine during the past three decades, I am very pleased to help ISCO in their efforts to make its hpSC technology a clinical reality where therapeutic cell derivatives will be immune matches for millions of people worldwide.” Dr. von Herrath continues: “While stem cell technologies generally offer great regenerative potential, most clinical applications will be limited by immune rejection. I look much forward to joining ISCO in their quest for making stem cell-derived therapy a practical and attractive clinical option for many degenerative diseases.”

Besides the immunogenetic developments, ISCO is advancing its hpSC technology into the differentiation of hpSC into therapeutic cells and tissues and into the establishment of processes and facilities to produce clinical-grade cells. The company is seeking to demonstrate the therapeutic potential of its hpSC technology as a safe, efficient, and superior alternative to other sources of stem cells for human therapy.


International Stem Cell Corporation is a California-based biotechnology company focused on therapeutic and research products. ISCO’s core technology, parthenogenesis, results in creation of pluripotent human stem cells from unfertilized oocytes (eggs). hpSCs avoid ethical issues associated with the use or destruction of viable human embryos. ISCO scientists have created the first parthenogenic, homozygous stem cell line that can be a source of therapeutic cells with minimal immune rejection after transplantation into hundreds of millions of individuals of differing sexes, ages and racial groups. This offers the potential to create the first true stem cell bank, UniStemCell™, while avoiding the ethical issue of using fertilized eggs. ISCO also produces and markets specialized cells and growth media for therapeutic research worldwide through its subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology. More information is available at ISCO’s website,

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Statements pertaining to anticipated technological developments and therapeutic applications, and other opportunities for the company and its subsidiary, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as “will,” “should,” “believes,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “estimates”) should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements 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 and ability to obtain future capital, application of capital resources among competing uses, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such 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. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Key Words: Stem Cells, Biotechnology, Parthenogenesis

International Stem Cell Corporation
Kenneth C. Aldrich, Chairman
[email protected]
Brian Lundstrom, President
[email protected]

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Australian grandmother beats off attacking shark – BBC

Posted: April 14, 2010 at 8:21 am

From BBC:

“An Australian grandmother has survived a shark attack by repeatedly punching and kicking the animal after it “ripped off” part of her body.

Surgeon Mark Flanagan said: “We can estimate that she lost about 40 per cent of her blood volume from the degree of shock that she had when she came in, and the fact that we required to give her several units of blood.”

Mrs Trumbull said she was happy to be alive.”

Shark Tunnel and Aquarium at Omaha Zoo, Nebraska.

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow on Twitter and Buzz, and connect on Facebook.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

How to use Google Docs Drawings for medical mind maps

Posted: April 14, 2010 at 8:21 am

Google Drawings is a new collaborative drawing editor – part of the updated Google Docs. It is free to use, just like the rest of Google Docs. The new standalone drawings editor lets you collaborate in real time on flow charts, designs, diagrams and other fun or business graphics. You can copy these drawings into documents, spreadsheets and presentations using the web clipboard, or share and publish drawings just like other Google Docs.

Until now, my service of choice for medical mind maps was and I have made more than 100 diagrams with it for

Mind Map Diagrams in Allergy and Immunology works very well but I was concerned about embedding the mind maps in case the service goes down temporarily or if the company closes down in the future (mind maps can be exported in XML format for backup). None of these should be a problem with Google Docs. Drawings is obviously behind in terms of features but it works for basic mind maps and I am planning to use it frequently in the future.

You can embed the minds maps as images, just like you do with YouTube videos, or provide a link to the original mind map and share it for collaboration:

Example: Accidental Injection of Epinephrine Into Finger

Every time you update the mind map in Google Docs/Drawings, the image updates too.

See a few mind maps created with Drawings below:

In order to publish the mind map diagram on the web, you have to click the “Share” button in the top right corner of the Google Docs menu. After the diagram is published, you will see the options to embed the image with different sizes and the link to share the original drawing with options to be edited by collaborators.

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow on Twitter and Buzz, and connect on Facebook.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Anatomy Pillow

Posted: April 14, 2010 at 8:21 am

Heather Lins Home anatomy pillow

Rest your anatomy on this anatomy pillow by Heather Lins.  Hand-sewn, 100% wool, and made of eco-friendly materials! $176 bucks here!

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

"The Brading Collection of Taxidermy, Waxworks, Costume and Similar Items," Duke’s Auction House, Dorset, April 13th (Today!)

Posted: April 14, 2010 at 8:21 am

From the outside, it’s an unremarkable industrial warehouse, home to Duke’s Auction House. But the stench of turpentine marks it out from the other buildings on the Grove Industrial Estate in Dorchester, Dorset. It’s the first clue that inside lurks a haven of Victorian taxidermy.

Step in, and you’ll see a Bengali tiger on its hind legs, 8ft tall, lunging claws-first (and canines first) towards you. Behind him is a peacock, glorious tail splayed behind it.

To the right are three zebras, a camel, baby rhinoceros and seven lions, the lioness twisted on the ground, sinking her incisors into a bloodied antelope. All in all, there are 250 animals, many of which are the treasures of an eccentric 19th-century professor and explorer.

Elsewhere are grotesque figures: shrunken monkey heads on spikes, Siamese lambs conjoined at the head, a velvet coffin with the body of a 16-year-old Congolese boy (complete with an elephant’s head stitched to his corpse), and dozens of glass-eyed waxworks with liver- spotted skin or daggers plunging into their chests.

Oh, and a blue dress once worn by Princess Diana.

Today’s auction–marking the dispersal of the Brading Experience, a former museum on the Isle of Wight in England and handled by Duke’s auction house in Dorset–will also include scores of waxworks featured at the museum for decades, among them “a waxwork of a whitehaired tramp wearing loose fitting rags” and “a half-length waxwork of a torso with a knife plunged into his chest,” not to mention the epic taxidermy you see above, and much, much more.

The above quote and images are from the Daily Mail, which featured a well-illustrated article about the auction; You can read the full article–“Yetis, unicorns and even flying kittens: Inside the worlds zaniest zoo”–by clicking here. You can view the entire catalog of sale items–prepare to be astounded!–here. You can find out more about Duke’s auction house by clicking here.

Wish I lived in England right now…

P.S. If this topic interests you, then you won’t want to miss tonight’s lecture by Robert Marbury at the Coney Island Museum, entitled “A Rogue’s Approach to Stuffing It: Taxidermy in Contemporary Pop, Art and Sub-Cultures” at 7:00 PM! Click here for details.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Sperm donor limits that control for the ‘relative’ risk associated with the use of open-identity donors

Posted: April 14, 2010 at 8:20 am

The majority of countries that support the use of donor insemination (DI) in artificial reproductive technology (ART) limit the number of children born from one donor. The setting of these donor limits, though intended to control for the risk of inadvertent half-sibling unions between the offspring of anonymous donors, actually have no evidence base. Controlling for the risk of inadvertent half-sibling unions may soon become unnecessary due to the increasing world-wide use of open-identity sperm donors and the revocation of donor anonymity in many countries. With the shift from anonymous to open-identity donation, the central issue is not the risk of genetic abnormality from inadvertent half-sibling consanguinity; it is the psycho-social impact of the multiple use of open-identity sperm donors. Despite this, the jurisdictions that allow or mandate the use of open-identity donors continue to observe existing limits that do not consider nor specifically control for the psycho-social impact of the multiple use of open-identity sperm donors. It is proposed that: (i) conservative interim donor limits be placed on the multiple use of open-identity donors, while research into the psycho-social impact of disclosure is undertaken to inform the establishment of evidence-based limits; and (ii) the existing limits in jurisdictions where anonymity is still commonly practiced or protected could be raised, if an updated mathematical model was used for calculating evidence-based anonymous donor limits.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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