Posted November 15, 2011; Amended November 17, 2011
Yesterday, Geron Corporation announced that for financial reasons the company will discontinue further development of their stem cell program, including recruitment for a clinical trial for patients with acute spinal cord injury. They will continue to follow currently enrolled patients and report on their progress.
While the ISSCR is disappointed by the decision to close the program, we are encouraged by Geron's report that during a phase I safety trial the derivatives of human embryonic stem cells were well tolerated. The trial was approved and started after rigorous safety studies and extensive review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), forging a new era in approval and execution of such trials. The knowledge gained from following the patients who entered the trial will provide valuable insight for future studies as researchers continue moving stem cell research into the clinic.
“There is a great deal of work to be done to test the safety and effectiveness of stem cells of all types and I hope that Geron and others will be able to secure the financial resources necessary to continue these important investigations for spinal cord injury and other conditions for which we do not currently have effective treatments,” said Lawrence Goldstein, member of the ISSCR Board of Directors and Director of the Stem Cell Program, University of California, San Diego.
The field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine is fast moving and growing exponentially, with expansion in academic, government and commercial sectors around the world. We anticipate that new and ongoing avenues of stem cell research will lead to successful therapies, and are optimistic that these treatments will alleviate the suffering of patients with currently intractable conditions and injuries.