The Family Foundation November 18, 2011
In shocking news this past Monday, Geron Corporation announced that it is voluntarily shutting down its embryonic stem cell therapy clinical trial citing “uncertain economic conditions.”
In January 2009, the California-based biotech firm (Geron Corporation) became the first to receive FDA approval for a phase I clinical trial using embryonic stem cells. Researchers working on this clinical trial planned to select 8 to 10 people who had become paraplegics within two weeks of the start of the trial.
During the trial, embryonic stem cells (requiring the destruction of unique human embryos) would be injected into the newly formed scar tissue with hopes that this would restore partial mobility. However, one month after the FDA approval was granted, the FDA placed a hold on the trial due to concern over cysts found in some of the rats from an earlier related experiment. Geron conducted another study on mice and in July 2010, the FDA hold was listed. In October 2010, the first patient enrolled in Geron’s clinical trial. To this date, only 4 patients have been enrolled.