First Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy

After good results in animal studies, researchers are aiming for human trials of an embryonic stem cell (ESC) therapy for spinal injuries. "Via the New Scientist: I'm confident that we will be in the clinic next year with the first human ESC-derived product ... Geron's plan is to treat people that have acute spinal injuries with oligodendrocyte progenitor cells grown from human ESCs. Oligodendrocyte cells support neurons in the brain and spine by sheathing them in myelin, a fat that helps neurons to transmit signals. Spinal 'crush' injuries often cause a loss of myelin, and so destroy the capacity of nerves to transmit signals. Previous experiments carried out by Geron in rats with damaged motor nerves suggested that oligodendrocyte progenitor cells injected into the spine can redress this, helping to restore movement." A thought for the day: if the FDA didn't exist, this therapy would already be in the clinic and at a far lower cost.



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