Friday, January 23, 2009

The Future Is Now Vol. LXIX: Stem Cell Clinical Trials Begin

Geron, one of the most ambitious biotechs out there, is launching a clinical trial for oligodendrocyte precursors as a treatment for spinal cord injury. This is being touted as the first stem cell clinical trial in the world. I'm not sure whether that's accurate on several technical points, but it's certainly a big step forward. I'm fascinated to see how this turns out.

Way back in the 90's when we were messing around with glial injections for SCI, it was pretty clear that 1) it would take more than dumping fresh cells into an injury to get good results, and 2) you could get animal models to show some recovery far more easily than you could with humans; the dominance and sophistication of the corticospinal pathways, coupled with human CNS chemistry makes for a difficult path to recovery.

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