HuCNS-SC® (human neural stem cells)

Our HuCNS-SC® human neural stem cells are manufactured by qualified personnel working in a clean room production environment, according to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). In 1999, StemCells scientists were the first to isolate and expand human neural stem cells. This groundbreaking research was based on using monoclonal antibodies against specific cell surface markers to prospectively isolate the population of neural stem cells from human brain tissue, and then purify and expand these cells into cryopreserved cell banks. These unmodified and highly purified cells are then prepared for direct transplantation.

Pre-Clinical Studies: Proof of Concept

The results of rigorous pre-clinical studies, including the transplantation of these cells in thousands of immunodeficient mice, have shown that our cells engraft, migrate, differentiate into the three major CNS cell types (neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes), and possess the ability to survive long-term with no evidence of tumor formation or adverse effects. The engraftment and long-term survival of HuCNS-SC in multiple disease relevant animal models indicates the potential for a similar effect in human patients.

Differentiation of HuCNS-SC cells in transplanted mouse brain.

HuCNS Image
  • Neurons
  • Astrocytes
  • Oligodendrocytes

Clinical Studies: Proof of Safety and Initial Efficacy

The first clinical trial of our HuCNS-SC product candidate was completed in 2009. This Phase I trial in neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL), a rare childhood disease, demonstrated the first clinical safety and tolerability of HuCNS-SC cells and the transplantation procedure. Data gathered in 2011 from subjects who participated in this first trial showed that transplanted HuCNS-SC cells can persist even after immunosuppression has been discontinued. In 2014, we reported long-term evidence of safety, up to seven years post-transplantation, for the surgical transplantation of the HuCNS-SC cells into multiple sites in the brain and at doses of up to one billion cells. The study results represent the first, and thus far only, multi-year data set following transplantation of neural stem cells into human subjects, and supports the feasibility of the Company's approach in multiple neurological disorders. 

Our Phase I trial in PMD and the Phase I/II clinical trials in spinal cord injury (SCI) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) reported continued emerging safety data as well as signs of preliminary efficacy.

Our HuCNS-SC product candidate is a highly purified population of human neural stem cells that are grown in suspension as clusters of cells called “neurospheres.” These cells can be expanded for a number of generations in culture while still retaining their potential to, at a single cell level, self-renew and differentiate into the three major cell types of the CNS – neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.


Prepared under controlled conditions and processed to cGMP standards, our HuCNS-SC cells are purified, expanded in culture, cryopreserved and then stored as “stem cells in a bottle,” ready to be transplanted as patient doses.

Learn more about our cGMP manufacturing…


We hold 40 issued or allowed U.S. and more than 100 foreign counterparts associated with our human neural stem cell technology. The broad claims of these patents cover composition of matter, methods and uses of these cells.

Learn more about our intellectual property…


Findings from studies performed by StemCells, Inc. and its collaborators on the use of HuCNS-SC cells have been published.

View our publications…

Clinical Trials

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD)

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL)