Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Newsy: Embryonic Stem Cells Tested on Human for First Time

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Bio-tech company Geron conducted the first ever federally approved embryonic stem cell test on a patient with a spinal cord injury.

“Well today, a major milestone in the stem cell debate happening right now. Doctors are treating the very first patient with embryonic stem cells. Also a part of a very first study ever authorized by the FDA to test this controversial therapy.” (Fox News)

Where the government failed, the private sector has succeeded in carrying out the first-ever stem cell trial on a human subject. The Telegraph reports the trial has overcome the controversy surrounding the procedure and has huge potential to cure diseases and disabilities: “If a success, it could be the ‘catalyst’ to open up stem cell treatments for all kinds of conditions from nerve damage, to Alzheimer's disease to diabetes.”

The New Scientist reports the clinical trial, funded by Geron corporation, has garnered huge support from the international community and is helping alleviate some of the concerns over hESC’s -- or human embryonic stem cells: “News of the trial is also likely to raise the morale of federally funded researchers at the US National Institutes of Health working on hESCs, as the legality of federal funding for their research is being challenged in court.”

Fox News’ medical correspondent says lots of people are concerned about this research leading to the creation of embryos for the sole purpose of being used for medical procedures -- pointing out other stem cells may do the trick.

MARC SIEGEL: “Another point to make, is that you may not need embryonic cells because the cells I describe that repair the spin, why go through the process of taking an embryo and manipulating it into the kind of cell that repairs. We may be able to skip that step.”

HOST: “How?”

MARCH SIEGEL: “By starting with the nerve cells themselves.”

The main objective of the trial is to see if stem cells can be absorbed safely into human body. Still, a blogger for Forbes says people are getting too excited over what seems to be a minor breakthrough, considering how long and hard the struggle has been to get to this point: “Geron shares are up 7% to $5.70, but there’s really no reason to get excited. While this is a political victory — it has taken more than a decade to get this study off the ground — it does not represent any real leap in knowledge or in Geron’s odds of success.”

Writer: Adnan Khan


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