International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) and Duke University have signed a master clinical research agreement to carry out clinical trials research in Parkinson's disease leveraging neural stem cell product from ISCO.
Academic clinical research organisation The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) will coordinate the research.
ISCO's Parkinson's disease programme uses human parthenogenetic neural stem cells (hPNSC), a novel therapeutic cellular product derived from the company's proprietary histocompatible human pluripotent stem cells.
These self-renewing multipotent cells are precursors for the major cells of the central nervous system.
hPNSC cells have the ability to differentiate into dopaminergic neurons and express neurotrophic factors such as glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to protect the nigrostriatal system.
In cases where current dopamine-replacement approaches fail to adequately control the symptoms, the system is expected to offer the opportunity to treat Parkinson's disease.
Duke University School of Medicine neurology clinical research vice dean Dr Mark Stacy said, "Duke has an exceptional clinical trials team and we look forward to characterising and understanding the safety and efficacy profile of this agent in the clinical trials setting."
International Stem Cell research and development vice president Dr Ruslan Semechkin said, "Dr. Stacy and his team have made numerous significant contributions in the field of Parkinson's disease research which, together with Duke's extensive clinical expertise in cell therapy clinical trials and the extensive patient population, gives us an outstanding opportunity to evaluate our revolutionary stem cell therapy."