Reuters is reporting that, after years of unreasonable FDA delays,
the stem cell company Geron has begun a Phase 1 clinical trial to check the safety of using its human embryonic stem cells as a treatment aimed at repairing crushed spinal cords. According to Reuters:
U.S. doctors have begun treating the first patient to receive human embryonic stem cells, but details of the landmark clinical trial are being kept confidential, Geron Corp said on Monday.
Geron has the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration license to use the controversial cells to treat people, in this case patients with new spinal cord injuries. It is the first publicly known use of human embryonic stem cells in people….
Geron's stem cells come from human embryos left over from fertility treatments. They have been manipulated so that they have become precursors to certain types of nerve cells.
The hope is that they will travel to the site of a recent spinal cord injury and release compounds that will help the damaged nerves in the cord regenerate.
The Phase I trial will not be aiming to cure patients but to establish that the cells are safe to use. Under the guidelines of the trial, the patients must have very recent injuries.
This first clinical trial is being launched in the midst of the renewed legal battle over federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. As Reuters notes:
Geron is not subject to limitations on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, as it has done all its work with its own funding.
Whole Reuters article here.
Disclosure: Many years ago, I purchased and have been holding several hundred shares of Geron stock. I haven't made any money yet, but I still have my hopes. Keep in mind that my risk threshold for investing is, well, let's just say, a bit high.