Biotechnology company International Stem Cell Corp. today posted the results of a second set of experiments on lab-grown corneal tissue. The results support previous studies that show the tissue as similar to drug absorption and drug metabolism characteristics found in normal corneal tissue, confirming the potential therapeutic value in treating corneal injury and disease, and suggesting the tissue’s potential as a replacement to animal testing.

ISCO’s human corneal tissue is created in the laboratories of its wholly owned subsidiary, Lifeline Cell Technology. The company said that additional experiments will be conducted to better define optical characteristics shown in the experiments.

Jeffrey Janus, senior vice president of ISCO and CEO of Lifeline, said the results support the company’s manufacturing plans and reflects the potential for the use of the lab-grown tissue in markets around the world.

“We are very excited to confirm our initial results showing drug absorption that correlates with animal models and add to these results the observation of enzymatic activity. This not only advances our plans to manufacture a product that can be used to reduce the need for tests that use living animals, but it also is one more step toward the potential therapeutic use of this tissue as a treatment for human corneal injury or disease. This has implications, not only in the U.S., but also in India and Asia, where millions of people suffer from corneal blindness that now goes untreated. The experiments showing light refraction are a tempting indication that this tissue will have therapeutic application,” Janus stated in the press release.

Collaborative efforts between Absorption Systems and ISCO utilize Absorption Systems’ expertise in developing superior preclinical methods of testing drugs, which reduce the use of laboratory animals in various testing, including safety testing of consumer products.

According to Absorption Systems CEO and President Patrick M. Dentinger, Absorption Systems’ partnership with ISCO reflects the companies need and desire to generate safe drugs in the marketplace.

“There is a large commercial need for a predictive and reproducible non-animal method for testing the safety of ophthalmic drugs and consumer products,” Dentinger stated. “The combined knowledge and expertise of ISCO and Absorption Systems have allowed us to take a step forward toward addressing an unmet need in the field of ophthalmology by creating a unique in vitro model to study human ocular drug absorption without using animals. Our collaboration with ISCO underscores our commitment to helping bring safe drugs to market.”