Geron pursuing ES cells for spinal cord therapy

Looks like spinal cord regeneration might be the first target for embryonic stem cell therapy trials in humans. More info in the Science article.

It looks like Geron has developed a protocol to reliably induce ES cells to become oligodendrocytes, the glial cells that produce the myelin sheath. Here’s the details from the article:

For newly injured rats, the results are promising. In animals that received oligodendrocyte precursors 7 days after their injury, the cells survived and apparently helped repair the spinal cord’s myelin. Within 2 weeks, treated rats scored significantly better on standardized movement tests than control animals, which had received human fibroblasts or a cell-free injection.

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