Tag: Geron Corp
Given that the firm with the most money has just quit, questions about how to succeed are rampant.
Geron, a pioneer in stem cell research founded in 1990, announced on November 14 that it was halting its stem cell therapeutics programs to conserve funds. It plans on laying off 38% of its 175-person staff and is seeking partners to take on the programs’ assets.
Geron had been developing cell products from differentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) for multiple indications. The company is viewed as the leader in stem cell therapies because of its patents on technology used to grow, manipulate, and inject stem cells into the human body. It helped finance researchers at the University of Wisconsin who first isolated human embryonic stem cells in 1998, allowing the cells to be grown in the laboratory.
For patients paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, Geron Corp.’s stem cell research was the shining hope.
The biotech firm showered scientists with millions of dollars to develop a treatment to reverse spinal damage. The therapy was the first treatment derived from embryonic stem cells to be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for testing in humans.
But last week, Geron abruptly pulled the plug on its pioneering trial and the rest of its stem cell business, including early work on treatments for heart ailments, diabetes and other diseases. Pursuing futuristic cures through regenerative medicine was financially riskier than focusing on the company’s two cancer drugs, which were further along in development, company executives said.
People who had pinned their hopes on stem cells reacted with dismay.
(Medical Xpress) — The Stanford University School of Medicine and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center treated the fifth patient in the Geron Corp-sponsored trial of a human embryonic-stem-cell-derived treatment for severe spinal cord injury on Nov. 16.
The patient, who is the second to be treated at Stanford and SCVMC, was enrolled in the trial before Geron announced on Nov. 14 that it was discontinuing the trial. The patient elected to undergo the procedure after being informed of the trial’s status.
The new approach, currently being studied by the FDA for phase I trials, avoids the problems of immunological rejection and the controversy around the use of embryonic stem cells
ROCKVILLE, Md.—A new experiment aimed at achieving actor Christopher Reeve’s dream of finding an effective treatment for spinal paralysis was announced this week at an international meeting of scientists and people with spinal cord injury sponsored by the United 2 Fight Paralysis Foundation. The approach, which already is shown to be promising in animals and avoids the need for patients to take immunosuppressive drugs, has not yet been proved effective in humans. Nonetheless, patients are excited to see this advance as they have been frustrated waiting for the first human trials of the new approach.