International Stem Cell Corporation announced that its Research and Development team has advanced its program to create a functional and transplantable human cornea by developing a new method to derive corneal endothelium-like cells from human pluripotent stem cells.
This work represents a significant step towards the creation of complete cornea tissue that can be used for transplantation and supports prior data showing indications of corneal endothelium generated by ISCO’s collaborators at Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital, India. Such cells by themselves may potentially promote wound healing and regeneration of the cornea and therefore could be used as a standalone medical treatment.
Development and commercialization of ISCO’s stem cell-derived cornea tissue along with manufacturing of Lifeline Cell Technology’s media and cellular products are the foundation for our expansion to the Asian markets and for clinical collaboration with Indian biomedical organizations including Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital and All-India Institute for Medical Sciences.
Asia represents a huge potential growth market for ISCO’s Cornea program. For example, in India alone there are more than 4 million people suffering from corneal vision impairment with limited access to corneal tissue. ISCO’s intention is to work with our clinical affiliate in India to meet this healthcare demand.
Dr. Ruslan Semechkin, Vice President of Research & Development, commented: “This new method not only brings our cornea program closer to clinical use, but it also gives us additional licensing opportunities. We have made good progress towards our goal of creating usable corneas, however the additional work, necessary to prove that these endothelium-like cells can be fully functional, will be done in conjunction with our collaborators.”