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A Dozen Egg Donors Needed For Stem Cell Bank

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Aired 5/24/11

A dozen human egg donors is all its going to take to open a new type of stem cell bank in Carlsbad.

— Stem cells from unfertilized human eggs, rather than embryos, may offer some advantages. Now the “first of its kind” stem cell bank has opened its door in Carlsbad with a single donor.

Tissue created from parthenogentic stem cell.

Above: Tissue created from parthenogentic stem cell.

International Stem Cell needs a few more altruistic women willing to donate their eggs (without compensation) to grow a vast bank of new stem cell lines.

Company scientists said they have found a way to get unfertilized human eggs to produce stem cells known as pluripotent cells—or cells that have the potential to turn into just about any human adult cell.

Simon Craw, Ph.D., is the vice president of the North County firm. He said, “These pluripotent stem cells could be used in human clinical trials or to treat diseases in the future.”

Craw hopes to market the new stem cell lines to other scientists who want to avoid ethical or political restrictions on embryonic-derived stem cells.

“The idea with this new bank is if people want to develop therapy to treat human diseases they can purchase less controversial stem cells from us,” said Craw.

Another advantage, said Craw, is his company’s cells are more likely to be accepted by a patient's immune system. Patients undergoing treatment using embryonic stem cells must take immune suppressive drugs to prevent their bodies from rejecting the new cells.

“One of the unique qualities of the human parthenogenesis stem cells is that each stem cell line can be immune matched to millions of people, so the likelihood of rejection is very low.”

But, a recent study done at the University of California San Diego found pluripotent stem cells could also be rejected by a patients immune system. More studies on the subject are under way.

International Stem Cell launched its stem cell bank in May after it received regulatory approval for collecting human donor eggs.

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