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First human stem cell trial sparks hope treatment could be used in future healthcare plans

Published on 13/10/2010
Treatments using embryonic stem cells could be one step closer to being used regularly as part of healthcare plans following a new trial in a human patient.

US-based firm Geron has announced that it is to use stem cells taken from human embryos to treat a spinal chord injury sufferer, the first time such a medical therapy has been used on a human in a government approved study.

The type of cells being used in the study - oligodendrocyte progenitor cells or GRNOPC1 - have the ability to morph into any type of cell found in the human body.

It is hoped that by injecting them into the spinal chord of the patient, they will replace damaged cells and help heal the injury.

Initially, only small amounts will be used in order to determine the safety of such a procedure.

"Initiating the GRNOPC1 clinical trial is a milestone for the field of human embryonic stem cell-based therapies," said Thomas B Okarma, Geron's president and chief executive.

Previous pre-clinical studies on rats have shown that that administration of GRNOPC1 significantly improves the locomotive activity of animals with spinal chord injuries when injected seven days after the injury.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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