Monthly Archives: January 2009
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first human trials of human embryonic stem cell research, authorizing researchers to test whether the cells are safe to use in spinal injury patients, U.S. biotech firm Geron Corp. announced Friday.
The tests could begin by summer, said Dr. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of the Geron Corp. The trials will use human stem cells authorized for research by then President George W. Bush in 2001. The patients will be those with the most severe spinal cord injuries, called complete spinal cord injuries.
Indianapolis – It could be a major step forward for stem cell research and patients paralyzed with spinal cord injuries. An American biotech company is now poised to launch the world’s first study of a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells.
Sam Schmidt is beaming at the news. Advancing research for the paralyzed is what he’s lobbied for over the past eight years.
“It’s not like winning the Indy 500 but it’s pretty darn close,” said Schmidt.
The FDA has approved the first use of embryonic stem cells to treat humans. It’s never been done before in the United States, but the FDA has now cleared the way for eight to ten patients with spinal cord injuries to be treated with embryonic stem cells sometime this summer.
Christopher Reeve didn’t live to see the day he worked so hard for, a treatment with the potential to repair spinal cords that would allow paraplegics to walk again.
FDA approves Geron Corp. clinical trial for spinal cord injury treatment
Irvine, Calif., Jan. 23, 2009 A therapy developed at UC Irvine that made paralyzed rats walk again will become the world’s first embryonic stem cell treatment tested in humans.
YOUNG Australian men dominate a register of major spinal injuries, with road accidents the main cause.
Men aged 15 to 24 accounted for the most new cases of persisting spinal cord injury in the 2006-07 financial year.
“We use the term persisting to say you will now live with that level of spinal cord injury, or paralysis, for the rest of your life,” said Dr Sophie Pointer, assistant director of the National Injury Surveillance Unit.
Biologists ID Gene, Pathway for Nerve Regeneration in Worms
University of Utah scientists identified a worm gene that is essential for damaged nerve cells to regenerate, and showed they could speed nerve regeneration by over-activating the gene – a step toward new treatments for nerves injured by trauma or disease.
Oddly, the gene and a related “pathway” – a chain of molecular events – is not required for normal nerve development in embryos, the researchers report in the Jan. 22 issue of Science Express, the online edition of the journal Science.
“We discovered a molecular target for a future drug that could vastly improve the ability of a neuron to regenerate after injury,” either from trauma or disease, says biology Professor Michael Bastiani, leader of the research team and a member of the Brain Institute at the University of Utah.
A Sunday afternoon bike ride last Father’s day dramatically changed the life of Joe Groh forever.
While riding in Grapevine, Groh came around a curve and lost control of his bike on some loose sand.
“I lost control and went over the top of the handle bars,” Groh said. “When I came to, I pretty much suspected right away what had happened because I couldn’t move.”
THE dangers of diving into shallow water have been highlighted with a timely warning from Health Minister Daniel Andrews.
Announcing funding for a new X-ray machine at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Kew, he urged people to check water depth before diving to avoid a lifelong spinal cord injury.
Research shows that of the 381 spinal cord injury cases reported during 2004-05 in Australia, 26 were caused by a diving or surfing accident. About 90 people a year suffer a spinal cord injury in Victoria.
Because of the spinal cord injury he suffered in an accidental shooting in 1980, U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin not only uses a wheelchair, he also has poor circulation and the equivalent of a broken thermostat for controlling his body temperature.
Today’s forecast for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration calls for temperatures in the low 30s; with the wind blowing it will feel like the teens when members of Congress gather on a stage outside the Capitol. But Langevin said, “As much as I hate the cold weather, I wouldn’t miss this inauguration for the world.”
Disabled veterans will soon have a place where they can get help when re-entering the job market following a life-altering injury.
The Paralyzed Veterans of America Vocational Rehabilitation Center will open Jan. 27 in the South Texas Medical Center.