July 30, 2010
Geron has apparently been released from its safety hold by the FDA, and intends to go ahead with its dangerous clinical trial injecting human embryonic stem cell derivatives into newly-injured spinal cord patients.
Whether Geron actually moves ahead with its trial (not a single patient has yet been injected) remains to be seen. In fact, because the treatment can only be done within the first two weeks after the injury, the potentially endangered patients are still walking around.
Even many pro-embryonic stem cell scientists have expressed concerns about Geron's trial, that it is
not proven even in rats, and could cause harm to the patients. Dr. John Kessler, chairman of neurology and director of the stem cell institute at Northwestern University, has said:
We really want the best trial to be done for this first trial, and this might not be it."
And Dr. Kessler is not alone in his trepidation about the Geron trial. Geron seems bent on endangering patient's health as well as their very lives, to make a political point and help their bottom line (their stock price went up soon after their press release).
Meanwhile, in terms of real effectiveness, even for patients injured years previously, adult stem cells have already shown published scientific evidence not only for safety, but for the reality of successful repair of spinal cord injury in patients.