US embryonic stem cell trial is halted

2011-11-15 19:45

Washington - The first-ever trial using human embryonic stem cells to treat paralysis has been halted due to high costs and the company, Geron, said it will focus instead on new cancer treatments.

The California-based biotech firm said it was also cutting 66 full-time jobs, or 38% of its workforce, according to a statement posted on its website.

"Geron plans to close the GRNOPC1 trial for spinal cord injury to further enrollment," the statement said, adding that the decision was made after a "strategic review" of costs and "regulatory complexities."

The study was meant to include up to 10 people in the first-ever trial of stem cell therapy on humans and began in October last year. Another company, Advanced Cell Technology, followed months later with a trial on blindness.

Geron said that in its phase I trial, which is meant primarily to gauge safety, "GRNOPC1 has been well tolerated with no serious adverse events."

It was unclear how many people have received the treatment.

The decision was greeted with anger by a board member of the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation, founded by the late Superman actor and his wife and which aims to cure spinal cord injury by funding new paths of research.

"I'm disgusted. It makes me sick," board member Daniel Heumann was quoted as telling the Washington Post.

"To get people's hopes up and then do this for financial reasons is despicable. They are treating us like lab rats."

Those who support embryonic stem cell research believe the field holds great promise for a host of ailments, from Alzheimer's to diabetes and more.

However the research is controversial because it requires the destruction of human embryos, and opponents say it violates their religious beliefs and is unethical.

Federally funded stem cell research was halted under the George W Bush administration, and though President Barack Obama lifted the ban in 2009, a host of legal battles have followed.

Scientists have also complained that a rush for patents on nearly every step of the process has made it nearly impossible to advance their work.

Read more on:    us  |  stem cell research

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The Leo moon adds an element of drama and entertainment. A significant person that you may consult or confide in may play more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.