Reprogramming Cells

The high-profile journal Science recently named “reprogramming cells” as the 2008 breakthrough of the year. By inserting genes that rewind a cell’s developmental time clock, scientists were able to transform skin cells from patients with a variety of diseases and coax them back into stem cells. These transformed cells will hopefully not only provide novel tools to study the underlying disease process but may, one day, be used to treat patients with their own cells, thereby thwarting potential immunological responses. Several labs are pursuing this approach for Rett Syndrome.  To view a video that explains this exciting development please visit the Science website.


First clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells is approved

Geron Corporation announced last week that the FDA has approved the company’s  Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the clinical trial of GRNOPC1 in patients with acute spinal cord injury.  Geron will initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial to establish safety of GRNOPC1 in patients with acute spinal cord injuries.

“The FDA’s clearance of our GRNOPC1 IND is one of Geron’s most significant accomplishments to date,” said Thomas B. Okarma, Ph.D., M.D., Geron’s president and CEO. “This marks the beginning of what is potentially a new chapter in medical therapeutics – one that reaches beyond pills to a new level of healing: the restoration of organ and tissue function achieved by the injection of healthy replacement cells. The ultimate goal for the use of GRNOPC1 is to achieve restoration of spinal cord function by the injection of hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells directly into the lesion site of the patient’s injured spinal cord.”

To read more please visit the Geron website.