July 14, 2011
News reports indicate that the first two patients have been injected in their eyes with retinal cells made from human embryonic stem cells. The actual injection of the hESC-derived cells comes about a month after the trials' sponsor, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) announced that they had signed up the patients for the embryonic stem cell experiments. These are the first two patients of their two proposed trials, each supposed to enroll 12 patients and to last through July 2013. Little in the way of details is available, other than the information given on the clinical trials database for the trials on Stargardts macular dystrophy and for age related macular degeneration. Of particular concern is the lack of information on how long the patients will be monitored for potential tumor formation caused by the injected embryonic stem cell derivatives. In the only other embryonic stem cell experimental trial, Geron has said they will follow patients for 15 years, due to the significant problem of cancer developing from the injected embryonic stem cells.
In the meantime, over 2,200 adult stem cell clinical trials are ongoing or completed, and adult stem cells are treating over 50,000 patients around the globe each year. Adult stem cells have shown published success for patients with dozens of different diseases and injuries. Check out some of the patient stories.