The Federal Drug Administration has approved the first human trials of embryonic stem cells — a sign of a new, liberal attitude toward stem cell research, which was hamstrung by the Bush administration.

Starting this summer, the biotech firm Geron will treat a small group of spinal-cord injury patients using neurons derived from stem cells, marking the first time embryonic stem cells will be tested in humans.

The trial is designed to test the safety of the treatment, not how well it works. Nonetheless, it’s a huge first step for the field.

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Comments

  1. #1 jj
    January 26, 2009

    w00t!!!
    That is all
    -JJ

  2. #2 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    January 26, 2009

    Can I get a “Ramen!?” I say, I say, Can I get a “RAMEN!” Change we can believe in!

  3. #3 Doug Alder
    January 26, 2009

    W00T indeed – hopefully someone else will take this approach now for Type 1 Diabetes to regenerate the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

  4. #4 Paul Browne
    January 27, 2009

    Great, but don’t forget that the religious right are not the only ones out there trying to block this work, ane animal rights lobby would also do so given half the chance.

    http://speakingofresearch.com/2009/01/23/a-new-era-for-embryonic-stem-cells/

    As for Type 1 diabetes, there’s certainly work being done in several centres on that right now, but both the ESC and iPS approaches look as if they’re still several years away from clinical trials in humans.

    e.g. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2008/11/20/pure.insulin.producing.cells.produced.mouse
    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2008/09/17/unc.scientists.turn.human.skin.cells.insulin.producing.cells

    Hopefully under the new administration the pace will pick up!

  5. #5 marilove
    January 28, 2009

    Happy Happy Joy Joy!