U.S. Stem Cell Trial Treats First Patient

The first approved U.S. clinical trial to use human embryonic stem cells to treat a disease has enrolled its first patient. Geron Corp., which is sponsoring the trial using stem cells for spinal cord injury, announced yesterday that the patient was treated at a hospital in Atlanta. Patients in the study will receive an injection of stem cells at the site of spinal cord damage within 2 weeks after the injury. The small trial is a safety study, but as The Washington Post notes, researchers will also test to see if they benefit from the therapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the trial in January 2009 but later suspended it because of safety concerns; FDA lifted the hold in July.