Change We Can Believe In, Embryonic Stem Cells Edition


From The Wall Street Journal:

In a watershed moment for one of the most contentious areas of science and American politics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the first-ever human trial of a medical treatment derived from embryonic stem cells.

Geron Corp., a Menlo Park, Calif., biotechnology company, is expected to announce Friday that it received a green light from the agency to mount a study of its stem-cell treatment for spinal cord injuries in up to 10 patients. The announcement caps more than a decade of advances in the company's labs and comes on the cusp of a widely expected shift in U.S. policy toward support of embryonic stem-cell research after years of official opposition.

"This is the dawn of a new era in medical therapeutics," said Thomas B. Okarma, Geron's president and chief executive officer. The hope that stem-cell therapy will repair and regenerate diseased organs and tissue "goes beyond what pills and scalpels can ever do."

Note: The timing of this is coincidental, says everyone involved, though one key difference between the Bush and Obama administrations is their difference on embryonic stem cell research.

More here.

Reason's Ron Bailey, author of the invaluable Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution, has covered this beat like nobody else. Read his book and then pray to whatever god probably doesn't exist that the developments he details so compellingly come in our lifetimes.

And read these stories by him.