Geron Going to Trials With Stem Cell Therapy

As the New York Times reports, Geron's embryonic stem cell therapy for spinal injuries is soon entering phase I human trials. Make what you will of timing, and consider that in the absence of the FDA this would already be in clinics: "The clearance of the clinical trial - of a treatment for spinal cord injury - is to be announced Friday ... Geron's trial will involve 8 to 10 people with severe spinal cord injuries. The cells will be injected into the spinal cord at the injury site 7 to 14 days after the injury occurs, because there is evidence the therapy will not work for much older injuries. ... Geron's therapy involves using various growth factors to turn embryonic stem cells into precursors of neural support cells called oligodendrocytes, which are then injected into the spinal cord at the site of the injury. The hope is that the injected cells will help repair the insulation, known as myelin, around nerve cells, restoring the ability of some nerve cells to carry signals. There is also some hope that growth factors produced by the injected cells will spur damaged nerve cells to regenerate." By way of a reminder, we should all be interested in technologies for myelin repair, given the evidence for a general decline in myelin during aging.


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