Stem Cell Breaktrough

I have remarkable news for you. It ranks, in fact, among the great humanitarian breakthroughs of our age.

BioTime, Inc. (BTIM: OTCBB) CEO Dr. Michael West was the final speaker at the World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress 2009. On May 14, he presented preliminary scientific data about his ability to program stem cells to become precursors to joint, cartilage and other skeletal cells. An in-depth peer-reviewed journal article will follow.

If that doesn’t excite you, you haven’t been paying attention.

This is why it should: West produces these purified cell lines using information produced by his ACTCellerate platform. As you may know, it just won the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s largest grant ever. This programmed purity, in turn, makes regulatory approval far less problematic.

This is because all but a few other researchers using his platform extract stem cells from a soup of different developing stem cells. BioTime’s cell lines, however, are pure because they have all undergone the same biological programming. But I digress. Let’s talk about the implications of the fact that West and BioTime can program cartilage stem cells specifically.

Arthritis is a national tragedy. It is a human tragedy. It causes acute, unrelenting pain. Two-thirds of its victims are under 65, but the odds of getting it skyrocket as we age. As life spans continue to increase, arthritis will become an even larger catastrophe. Severe arthritis almost inevitably causes other problems. These include depression and conditions created by the lack of physical activity, such as heart disease and obesity.

How big is this problem? Think of this human scourge in financial terms.

In the long term, if we could increase our GDP by 2-3% annually, we could probably solve our current deficit problem. It would certainly move the entitlement crisis meltdown out by many years.

Somewhere between 2-3% of our GDP is currently consumed by arthritis. This includes increasingly expensive therapies and lost incomes. More than 46 million Americans have been diagnosed as having the disease. With unreported cases, the actual number may be 70 million. It is America’s leading cause of disability and morbidity. The CDC says it costs the U.S. $128 billion in 2003, but it is increasing rapidly.

Arthritis is caused by the deterioration of joint, cartilage and other skeletal cells. Like brain and heart tissues, these cell types are among the few that do not regenerate. With cells potentiated to regenerate these tissues, however, the cure for arthritis is at hand.

There are a few therapeutic details to be worked out yet, but they are trivial and will be worked out in clinical tests. The big breakthroughs have been made and Dr. West has patents pending on many of them. Moreover, the cost of a cure will be far less than the cost of current treatment modalities.

Oh yeah, one more thing. West also announced in Geneva that his road map includes spinning off companies to treat specific diseases, including arthritis. If you own BioTime, you will own part of those companies. There will almost certainly be other companies that license his cures, which may include cells that cure the leading cause of death today — heart disease. I’ll be speaking with Dr. West frequently to make sure you know about these companies as soon as the information is available.

I have much more information for you, but I’m over my word count. Specifically, I have personal news about International Stem Cell Corp.’s (ISCO: OTCBB) new stem cell-based cosmeceutical that will cheer the hearts of anybody who wants to look younger or make transformational profits.

I got permission from the boss, Addison Wiggin, and our legal department to accept some of ISCO’s skin treatment. I was concerned about possible conflict-of-interest issues, but my wife is now using the product. The results, happily, were rapid and dramatic. More on that later.

Patrick Cox

May 27, 2009