Monday, October 11, 2010
Embryonic Stem Cells used to Treat Spinal Cord Injury Patient
For the first time in history, embryonic stem cells have been used to treat a patient with an acute spinal cord injury. According to several reports the protocol calls for using the treatment within two weeks of the initial injury. Geron, the company sponsoring the trial has spent years and tens of millions of dollars just to get to this first patient. The hope is for this first phase that safety can be demonstrated.
We have officially entered the era of biologic medicine. For quite some time there has been promise, now there is action. It is hard to compute the amount of effort that has likely gone into getting to just this point. It is the researchers and especially this first brave but tragic patient that deserve the credit for this advancement.
In the future, the use of either adult stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells may become a better option. For now, regardless of your stance on the ethics of embryonic stem cells this day must be marked as a milestone.