Human Stem Cells Institute OJSC (HSCI) is a Russian public biotech company founded in 2003.

HSCI is engaged in drug discovery, R&D and marketing of innovative proprietary products and services in the field of regenerative medicine, bio-insurance, medical genetics, including reproductive genetics, gene therapy and biopharmaceutics.

The Company aims to foster a new culture of medical care – developing new health care opportunities in such areas as personalized and preventive medicine.

HSCI owns the largest family cord blood stem cell bank in Russia – Gemabank, as well as the reproductive cell and tissue bank Reprobank (personal storage and donation).

The Company launched Neovasculgen®, the first-in-class gene-therapy drug for treating Peripheral Arterial Disease, including Critical Limb Ischemia, and also introduced the innovative cell technology SPRS-therapy, which entails the use of autologous dermal fibroblasts to repair skin damage due to aging and other structural changes.

HSCI is implementing a socially significant project to create its own Russia-wide network of Genetico medical centers & testing lab to provide a range of genetic diagnostic and consulting services with the aim of early identification, prediction and prophylactic treatment of genetic disorders (incl. PGD and NIPT among others).

The Company actively promotes its products on the Russian market and intends to open new markets throughout the world.

HSCI is listed on the Innovation & Investment Market (iIM) of the Moscow Exchange (ticker ISKJ). The Company conducted its IPO in December 2009, becoming the first Russian biotech company to go public.

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Hyaluronic acid: for those who take risk

Creams, gels, and lotions containing hyaluronic acid represent one of the last trends in cosmetology. Hyaluronic acid is a component of connective, epithelial, and neural tissues. It is a component of extracellular matrix, i.e., a scaffold that supports cells. In the skin, hyaluronic acid participates in tissue regeneration and provides skin elasticity. As one can think, hyaluronic acid is just a great find for cosmetologists. 

Hyaluronic acid: a gold standard for fighting wrinkles

This is not all good that is known about hyaluronic acid. There is a remarkable animal, the naked mole-rat, about which many have heard. This rodent living in burrows in complete darkness is remarkable for its resistance to cancer and its longevity which is incredible for such a small animal. Recently Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluyanov, Russian scientists working at theRochesterUniversity, have shown that the level of hyaluronic acid in cells of the naked mole-rat is unusually high and told about this finding to "Gazeta.Ru." Thus, the naked mole-rat implements the dream about eternal youth.

 In the skin, hyaluronic acid (or glycosaminoglycan gel) supports elasticity of the extracellular substance in connective tissue by localizing between collagen and elastin fibers. By forming a film on the skin surface, hyaluronic acid binds water and keeps moisture. It also facilitates regeneration of skin cells.

In 2008 physicians-cosmetologists declared that hyaluronic acid is a gold standard for fighting wrinkles. However, to achieve the more efficient result, hyaluronic acid should be used not on the skin surface but introduced into the skin. This is achieved by mesotherapy, i.e., injections of hyaluronic acid directly to the extracellular matrix of the medium skin layer, the derma. Here the disadvantages of the "gold standard" become obvious.

Disadvantages of hyaluronic acid application

The procedure itself cause no particular troubles to patients, however, it possesses a number of disadvantages. For example, injections should be repeated on regular basis since hyaluronic acid is allogenic for the human body (either of animal origin, or obtained by chemical synthesis) and that is why it is destroyed fast in the human body and taken away. A complete therapy course with an interval of 3 – 4 weeks can take up to 5 months and should be preferably repeated once a year. Besides, hyaluronic acid can cause allergic reactions.

Is there an alternative to hyaluronic acid injections?

Yes, there is! This is the SPRS therapy, the technology that allows one not only to moisturize the skin and to increase its tension and elasticity but also to smooth small and average wrinkles. The achieved clinical effect has a long-term character.

The SPRS therapy is based on application of autologous (i.e., patient's own) skin cells, fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are the main skin cells responsible for production of skin "youth" components: collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. With age the amount of fibroblasts in skin is decreased, as well as their biosynthetic activity and collagen content. Thus, American scientists have shown that in the skin of old people, the number of fibroblasts and their biosynthetic activity is decreased by 40% and 75%, respectively, as compared with the skin of young people. The visual appearance of these processes is wrinkle formation and the decrease of skin thickness and elasticity.

Briefly, the SPRS therapy can be described as follows: patient's skin sample of4 mmin size is used to obtain a cell suspension containing cultivated autologous fibroblasts at the specialized laboratory of the Human Stem Cell Institute. The course of the skin therapy consists of 2 procedures separated with a one-month interval. The obtained cell suspension (the SPRS preparation) is delivered to the cosmetological clinic immediately before each procedure. The cells are injected according to the special procedure intracutaneously (into the papillary layer of the derma) by tunnel mode using special mesotherapeutic needles which allows one to evenly distribute (with the adequate cell density) the transplanted functionally active fibroblasts throughout the skin region that requires correction. This completely excludes patient's body immune response since only patient's own cells are used for the procedure.

Skin youth generators

The autologous fibroblasts injected into the skin efficiently correct the age-related skin changes since, being transplanted into the skin, they intensively produce collagen, elastin, and the other important skin "youth" components. As a result, the skin microstructure is restored and the skin density and elasticity is increased whereas the amount and depth of wrinkles is decreased.

 Thus, as opposed to injections of allogenic hyaluronic acid, the SPRS therapy is an absolutely safe cosmetological method having no side effects owing to application of patient's own cells which perfectly survive in patient's skin. Being injected into the skin, autologous fibroblasts produce for a long time (at least for one year) a whole complex of skin "youth" components: not only hyaluronic acid, but also collagen and elastin, thus having complex influence on the skin. Since these fibroblasts are patient's own cells, all skin components produced by fibroblasts persist in the skin and a clinical effect has not short-term but long-term character (as compared with hyaluronic acid injections) and is maintained for several years.

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