Geron Cleared for First ESCR Human Trial

ChelseaAdult Stem Cell Research, Embryonic Stem Cell Research3 Comments

11 months after it halted the trial the FDA has given the Geron Corp permission to go ahead with the world’s first human trial of a treatment derived from embryonic stem cells:

The world’s first authorized test in people of a treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells has been cleared to begin by the Food and Drug Administration.

The trial will test cells developed by Geron Corporation and the University of California, Irvine in patients with new spinal cord injuries.

The F.D.A. had initially cleared the clinical trial in January, 2009, in what was viewed at the time as a research milestone.

But before the study could begin, the agency then put a so-called hold on the trial after cysts were discovered in some mice injected with the cells. Geron had to do another mouse study and develop better ways to check the purity of its cells.

On Friday, the company announced in a press release that the F.D.A. had lifted the hold. Geron shares rose in morning trading.

Research milestone? HA! How’s this for a research milestone: Spinal cord injuries – especially complete injuries – are not reversible. There is, quite literally, “no hope” – no common therapy or drug that will ever improve your mobility or function over time. I know this from personal experience. I have been paralyzed for 11 years since I received a spinal cord injury in a car accident my junior year of high school. That is why it is simply amazing that, for a few years now, adult stem cells have been successfully used in early human trials to restore some feeling and movement in long term spinal cord injury patients (see here, here, here, here, here and here). All, as Wesley Smith points out, without the fanfare of the MSM.

Whatever happens with this new trial – if it ever happens (Geron has been promising this trial for years now) – will not change the fact that human embryonic stem cell research is unethical, period. I’d sure love to be able to walk again, but I would never accept the harvesting of another human life, no matter how small, for my own comfort.

Click here for more on why I oppose embryonic stem cell research.

3 Comments on “Geron Cleared for First ESCR Human Trial”

  1. HESC – Human Embryonic stem cells come from excess eggs at invitro fertilization clinics. They are destined to be flushed anyhow.

    Once a line is started it can be used indefinitely and for multiple aveunues of reseearch or eventually multiple treatments for hundreds or even thousands of people.

    “Adult” stem cells carry with them the risk of rejection. They are limited and they die earlier than HESC.

    I hope you get over your prejudice and open your eyes. Geron may be able to restore some or all of your mobility in the next few years. It would be a shame if ignorance kept you from accepting this blessing.

    Love & Light

  2. Paula – thank you for your comment and your apparent concern for my well being. With all due respect, I have been studying stem cell research for quite some time now and I think I have a pretty good grasp on what I’m talking about here.

    First of all – risk of rejection??? Adult stem cells come from YOUR OWN BODY!! You use YOUR OWN cells to treat your injury or disease!! No risk of rejection there! Embryonic stem cells necessarily come from an “outside” source (unless you’re killing your own clone in order to obtain your own cells) and, thus carry with them a much greater risk for rejection. ESCs also have a 20+ year history in animal studies of becoming cancerous or forming deadly tumors or cysts (see more on the dangers of ESCs and their ineffectiveness here and here). There is little to no evidence to support the idea that ESC research will lead to all or even any of the therapies and cures that scientists claim it will. They are simply too uncontrollable. Unlike adult stem cells which are more mature and can adapt better to a new environment.

    As for restoring my mobility, I’ll stick with the proven results that have already come from ADULT stem cells, which I pointed out in this post: see here, here, here, here, here and here. And that’s just spinal cord injury! Adult stem cells have also had success treating: diabetes, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis, blindness, Alzheimer’s, lupus, sickle cell anemia, and autism – just to name a few. Most recently they have been used to treat blindness and build new windpipes for cancer patients. Meanwhile, ESCs can count a big, fat ZERO when it comes to treating disability and/or disease in rats, much less human beings. Even the AP recently admitted that ASCR is “Far ahead of embryonic.

    If I have any “prejudice” it is that my love and respect ALL human life refuses to let me accept the direct killing of any innocent being, whatever the reason. And I’m perfectly ok with that. As far as excess IVF embryos are concerned: Inevitable death does not justify the use and destruction of human life for scientific research. My ultimate choice would be that none of these embryos be created in the first place. Since they are, however, there really is no ethical option for IVF embryos that will never be implanted. Being thrown away, used for research or perpetually frozen – all are equally beneath their dignity as human beings. Human embryos are human beings in their earliest stages of development and destroying them in order to obtain stem cells for research or medical treatment is in essence killing one class of human beings to benefit others (which actually sounds more “prejudiced” to me). All human life is sacred, from the moment of conception to natural death and intentionally destroying human life at any stage of development, no matter how noble that intention may be, greatly diminishes the value of all human life and is wrong. ESCR is no blessing. It is unethical, period and its advancement is not progress, but a threat for man and for the world.

    Thank you, again, for your apparent concern for my well being, I would certainly love to regain some feeling and mobility below my injury level, but I could never accept the harvesting of another human life, no matter how small or insignificant, for my own earthly comfort.


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