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article imageStem cell spinal cord research resumes

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2014 in Science
Three years have passed since the medical research organization Geron closed its stem cell program. Now news is in that the group BioTime have received funding to relaunch a Phase 1 trial for spinal cord injury.
The spinal cord transmits information between the brain and the rest of the body. Injury to the spinal cord can cause paralysis. When the spinal cord is injured, the initial trauma causes cell damage and destruction, and triggers a cascade of events that spread around the injury site affecting a number of different types of cells. Research into this area is seen as both medically important and economically lucrative.
In 2011, Geron discontinued its clinical trial for a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) treatment for spinal cord injury. Two years later, a company launched by two former Geron executives purchased the stem cell and regenerative medicine business. A year on, San Francisco-based Asterias Biotherapeutics/BioTime appears set to resume the spinal cord injury trial.
This news comes via the California Stem Cell Report. The work will be of interest because a recent survey of the scientific literature shows that stem cell therapy can have a statistically significant impact on animal models of spinal cord injury.
Stem cell therapy aims to use special regenerative cells (stem cells) to repopulate areas of damage that result from spinal cord injuries, with the hope of improving the ability to move ("motor outcomes") and to feel ("sensory outcomes") beyond the site of the injury.
More about Stem cell, Spinal cord, Medicine, Medical research
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