The FDA has given the green light for the first human clinical trial using embryonic stem cells. Geron, a California-based biotech company, applied for FDA approval last March. Researchers plan on injecting stem cells into the spines of patients who recently suffered a devastating spinal cord injury.
It will be a phase one study looking at safety measures, but researchers say they will also look for signs the therapy is working. Seven medical centers have been selected to participate in the trial. The hospitals must first have the study approved by their internal review board. Company officials at Geron say there's no evidence the change in administration led to the approval of their study. The stem cell line used in the study is one of the oldest, so it was eligible for funding under the Bush administration's policy.