Stem Cell Research

First Human Stem Cell Clinical Trial Begins


Reuters is reporting that, after years of unreasonable FDA delays,

More backbone than FDA regulators

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. 

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  1. Wow Ron, you really took our ribbing about the lame alt-texts to heart. Well done.

    1. That’s some choice alt text. I need clarification however.

      Is it the patients when they have crushed spines or after they receive the stem cell treatment, who have more backbone than a FDA regulator? “Both” seems likely, but it could depend on just how severe the damage was prior to treatment.

      1. This is a false comparison, because the FDA is filled with invertebrates

  2. Is it just me, or does the fact the Cylons’ spines glow post-coitus make it unlikely that they would be so difficult to differentiate from humans?

    1. The Science Fiction Museum at Seattle Center is going to be having a big BSG exhibit soon. Sadly, I will likely pay their exorbitant fee and attend. On drugs, of course.

      1. Plz post pics of you posed with a Cylon. Old school one, not a pudgy girl torturing the seams of a 6 knock-off dress.

        1. Just go watch the opening credits of The A-Team and you’ll get your fill.

        2. Please post the best of both – an old school one and a pudgy one in a shitty costume too small for her.

  3. I remember when Ron used a picture from 12-oz. Mouse for his article pic. Alt-text unnecessary in that case.

    1. Corndogs, man.

  4. Were the unreasonable delays anything more that that they couldn’t get their hands on that sweet,sweet gub’mint money?

    1. Metzger: Nope. The company have been seeking FDA permission for two or three years now.

      1. Oops, sorry Ron. The whole clinical trials part missed me. Just got a bit of a bone to pick with folks who claim embryonic stem cell research is being stifled by the government just because they won’t fund it. Must keep a tighter leash on my prejudices.

        1. There’s more to it than just not funding it. There is the creation of a major hurdles such as having to have separate labs and equipment. This has of course been explained on here many times.

  5. *Cracks fetus in half, sucks out juices*
    *Now he can move his arms!*

    After seeing that, Theresa, How can anyone NOT be in favor of stem cell research?

  6. Would not embryonic stem cells have a different genetic sequence than the receipient (unless the receipient is what into the source embryo had grown)?

    Those stem cells would be desroyed by the white blood cells of the receipient.

    1. Pretty sure that is the driving force behind converting non-stem to stem cells, using a patient’s own source material.

      However, with immunosuppression, I suppose it should work as well as organ transplants do now. Where’s Groovus when you need him.

      1. I really miss that guy.

    2. That is one cause for concern. But the major one is if the cells are tumorigeneic.

      If allogenic stem cells cause cancer, you can kiss Ron’s (and many other) investments goodbye.

  7. finally we may begin harvesting the bodies of the young so that I may live forever!!! HAHAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH! [deep breath] HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHA! HHA! Haaaaa. [sighs] But really I just want my investment to pay out. Don’t hate me.

    1. mb: Both.

  8. Hey ron, I’m gonna short Geron!

  9. Unless Geron makes some really outrageous fibs to boost their prices, I doubt you are going to see a good return on your stock. I’d be willing to bet we aren’t going to see any bankable advances in stem cell use in your lifetime. Sorry buddy.

    1. Yonemoto & heller: That’s why I mentioned my risk tolerance. 🙂

      1. I dunno, ron, this is kind of verging on stupidity. Of course I’m biased – I worked in a lab next to a stem cell lab, and holy shit, the incompetence and sheer pseudoscientificness of what they were doing is staggering.

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