Geron Corp. has been given the thumbs up to go forward on a study of stem cells and spinal injuries by the federal government.
This week the company was granted permission to inject up to ten patients with stem cells obtained from embryonic cells. The test group will be paraplegics who can’t walk but have arm movement. Doctors will be looking for movement in the legs or sensations returning.
The study will begin this summer.
In other nations stem cell research has taken place but this will be a first in the United States. Doctors have long wanted to further research the use of stem cells in the human body. Human embryonic cells can be used to make any cell in the body. Research has been stilted though because to obtain such cells an embryo has to be destroyed.
“It’s a milestone, and it’s a breakthrough for the field because Geron passed the safety hurdles for getting federal clearance to launch the study,” said Ed Baetge, chief scientific officer of Novocell Inc.