First tests for stem cell therapy near

U.S. trial to involve 10 partially paralyzed patients

American scientists are preparing to use stem cells in people for the first time, despite a recent ruling calling the federal funding of stem cells unconstitutional. In July, the FDA gave the scientists at Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif, a green light to test some patients with a progressive form of blindness or who have been partially paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. The first trial will see 10 partially paralyzed people injected with 2 million cells created from embryonic stem cells. Critics say the experiments are premature and risk causing tumors. “There’s a lot of angst around these trials,” said Evan Y. Snyder, director of the stem cell program at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in San Diego. “There’s going to be this perception that if the cells do not perform well, the entire field will be illegitimate.”

Washington Post

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