October 11th, 2010
03:30 PM ET

First human injected in human embryonic stem cell trial

After years of animal trials, the first human has been injected with cells from human embryonic stem cells, according to Geron Corporation, the company which is sponsoring the controversial study.

"This is the first human embryonic stem cell trial in the world," Geron CEO Dr. Thomas Okarma tells CNN.

Geron is releasing very few details about the patient, but will say that the first person to receive cells derived from human embryonic stem cells was enrolled in the FDA-approved clinical trial at the Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.  This person was injected with the cells on Friday.

The FDA first approved this clinical trial in January 2009, but later required further research before the study could proceed. The FDA gave final approval in July of this year.  This allowed the company to begin searching for the first patients who might qualify for this phase 1 clinical trial, which means scientists are trying to determine the safety of introducing these cells into a human.

To be eligible, patients have to have suffered what's called a complete thoracic spinal cord injury, which means  no movement below the chest. While patients can still move their arms and breathe on their own, they are complete paraplegics; they have no bowel or bladder control and can't move their legs, Okarma explains.

The injury to the spinal cord would have to have occurred between the third and tenth thoracic vertebrae and the patient has to be injected with the stem cell therapy, called GRNOPC1, within seven to 14 days after the injury.   "At the time of the injection, they [the cells] are programmed to make a new spinal cord – they insulate the damage [to the spinal cord]," says Okarma.  The cells work just like they would if they were in the womb and building a spine in a fetus, Okarma explains.

Embryonic stem cells are only four to five days old and have the ability to turn into any cell in the body.  But the cells that the patient receives aren't pure human embryonic stem cells anymore.  The cells in the GRNOPC1 therapy have been coaxed into becoming early myelinated glial cells, a type of cell that insulates nerve cells.

"For every cell we inject, they become six to 10 cells in a few months," says Okarma.  These cells can still divide some but will not become any type of cell other than glial cells, he explains.

The Geron CEO likens what these cells are doing to repairing a large electrical cable.  If the outer layer is damaged and the wire is exposed, it causes a short-circuit and the cable doesn't work anymore.  In the case of a spinal cord injury, these new stem-cell derived glial cells creep in between all the fibers and rewrap the nerve with myelin, which is like patching the cable.  The goal is to permanently repair the damage that caused the paralysis from the spinal cord injury.

"We're not treating symptoms here -  we're permanently regenerating tissue," says Okarma.

He adds that the goal of this stem cell therapy is to shift the outcome for someone who has just suffered a serious spinal cord injury, and go from a place where there's no hope for improvement to a situation where they can respond to physical therapy.  "If we could do that, this would be a spectacular result," Okarma says.

The purpose of the clinical trial at this stage is to determine safety – to determine that there are no bad side effects or rejection caused by the therapy. Only eight to 10 patients are approved to be in the safety phase of this clinical trial, and patients with new spinal cord injuries are expected to be enrolled at about seven sites in the United States.  Besides the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, also is recruiting patients.

The cells that are being injected into the patients are a product derived from stem cells that were harvested from leftover embryos from fertility clinics.  Because this process destroys the embryo, this type of research has been very controversial.  Consequently federal funding of this type of research has been equally controversial.  However, Okarma has previously told CNN that "zero federal funds" were used for their human embryonic stem cell product.

soundoff (762 Responses)
  1. Jeremiah


    October 12, 2010 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. B. A.

    Oooooooo. I hope they figure things out before I need it. Maybe, try it out on death row inmates and child molesters. Get them all healthy and then off 'em.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. wilson

    Wow... this is really FANTASTIC news.... for rich people. Everyone else is going to be SOL unless you're fortunate enough to have great insurance. Using stem cells to fix injuries or diseases is never going to be made available to the normal person off the street. At least not in our lifetime.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. SF

    I'm a banana.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sam Patch

    My last comment was @bmmg39, by the way.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Raf

    Using life (and a stem cell is life) that will never see its potential because it has no means of doing so, and re-purposing it to give back a life to a living person is truly the miracle that is man. You religious guys keep looking to God for a miracle when he has given you the gift of performing one.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jean2009

      Well said. Thanks.

      October 12, 2010 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
  7. Charles

    I can't find SFs comment. Must have been another immature conservative response to generate the backlash. Don't stoop to their level people, it's a thin line.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. BigLuvins

    When I was 3 my father was confined to a wheelchair. Growing up baseball was my favorite sport, my little league experience consisted of pushing my father thru a 1/4 mile of grass to get to the baseball field. I never had a chance to play catch with my father, and that is something I have regretted every day of my life. My hope is that with this research, someone can look back at their childhood and not have the same regrets I had.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mr. Blues

    I would love to see a catholic cripple come to the hospital and have to make a decision to be part of the trial. What an ethical pickle he/she will be in...

    October 12, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mike

    After reading all this hate towards each other I would prefer the masses to be paralyzed. Us humans are ugly beings.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JG

    I beleve in god, I don't think that this is bad remember god created us so that means he created science cuz he gave us the brain to discover it and wich it helps us to help our selves, to those none believers remember science can't explain every thing and you better hope your right.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ghandi

    wonderful treatment, hope they got it working. for everyone with the GOD issues. IF the is a god he gave you a brain for a reason, and NO MATTER WHAT is in the religious book of your choice, 1. I, I repeat, I have FAITH that god doesn't care how much you pray/proselytize/CLAIM YOU BELIEVE IN HIM, only your actions and what good deeds you do will get you into heaven, no amount of tithing/prayer/"FIGHTING FOR THE HOLY LAND" can help. and 2. EVERY ONE OF THOSE "GOOD/RELIGIOUS BOOKS" HAS BEEN WRITTEN/COPIED/EDITED/TRANSLATED/INTERPRETED by MAN. So therefore the only true faith is what you as an individual believes. 10 out of 10 christians will find something to disagree about just as much as 10 out of 10 muslims/jews/hindus/buddhists. when it comes to religion all there CAN BE is FAITH.

    October 12, 2010 at 00:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ghandi

      what i meant to say is 10 out of 10 christians will find something to disagree about WITHIN THEIR OWN RELIGIONS, just as 10 out of 10 muslims/jews/buhddists/etc. just as people will argue about differing religions/customs/etc.

      October 12, 2010 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  13. Observer

    If the scientists knew how this would turn out, there wouldn't be any controversy. It's pointless at this stage to PRETEND to know whether it will lead to a miracle cure or will be a failure or somewhere in between. This is a big gap between the average blogger and a nurse and a big gap between a nurse and a research scientist.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Buddy

    Seems like Obama finally made good on one campaign promise. Let's just hope we get some good data back before 2012 ends. At that point, the conservative pro-fetus, anti-humanist fearmongers will likely get the presidency back.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jim

    VinceRN, what's with all the pessimism? A jaded ED nurse perhaps? I don't care if you have 40 years of experience because unless you have done research in this field, or have a doctorate in stem cell research, you simply don't know all the details regarding this treatment. Why not let the experts try to help a broken body?

    Have you ever considered that your way of thinking is backwards? If you were born in a different era, I'm sure you'd share your skeptical views about penicillin before it was approved. Or maybe you'd start a movement against germ theory claiming Pasteur was an idiot for suggestion that disease was caused by exposure to microorganisms. Your type of thinking and attitude would effectively halt evidence-based medicine, so please do 'us' a favor and stick to nursing. If you want to practice medicine then go back to school.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Nicky

    Omg this is huge! This brings so much hope for my husband now god I hope the religious nuts don't f" ck it up!!!

    October 12, 2010 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Nicky

    Dear SF do you ever take the bus ? A bus put my husband in a wheelchair ! It was gods will I hear you say ? Buses wernt in the bible either numb nut ! And if god created the world who the he'll created god!

    October 12, 2010 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. wondering

    The real question is, will this type of research and treatment help just those small number of tragic injuries or will it help the millions suffering lives in misery from so many nerve related issues that ruin everyday life?

    October 12, 2010 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Efren

      Beth (Royuk) Pester here. I first met Deborah when we were on a Spring Weekend team together. Actually her steisr, Lois, and I were the only two freshmen invited to be on that team of upperclasswomen. We learned later that we were only included because none of them wanted to do the water/pool events, and because we were freshmen, they could make us do those. And then I got to know both Deborah and the husband even better during summers together in Seward. Those were great days. Some of the best, really.Also, Brad is my brother. And Lloyd and Lauren are my great friends/adopted siblings and fellow residents of Seward.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
  19. Boramin

    Where to begin on this...

    1) ESC have the capacity to cause localized immune suppression, thus potentiating uninhibited tumor growth.

    2) ESC have a large capacity for unexpected malignant transformation.

    3) ESC therapy requires lifetime immune suppression, just like any other allogenic transplant.

    4) The success of this therapy presents a potential conundrum if demand outweighs current, somewhat less controversial sources of ESC, in addition to substantial legal complications relating to profits (will IVF patients still be willing to sign their unused embryos away, or will they expect compensation should they be utilized, especially considering IVF is elective and extremely expensive.)

    5) ASC are already extremely successful therapeutically.

    6) ASC do not require immune suppression because they can be harvested from the patient in almost all cases.

    7) ASC have less capacity for tumorigenesis

    So in conclusion, as an AGNOSTIC scientist (currently in school for MD/PhD, degree in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology) I'm still placing my bets on ASC. Sorry folks, but the way I see it the public is being duped into caring about ESC purely for political gain from both parties (both get votes because it elicits strong emotional responses from the masses.)

    The real money will be in ASC, and we should be focusing our efforts on learning how to better harvest and manipulate them. ESC are interesting research tools but overall inferior for therapeutic uses.

    I will be waiting for the first schwannoma/glioma that pops up with this therapy, or some other unexpected transformative tumor. Call me a pessimist, but the evidence says that this is the most likely outcome from ESC injection. Either that or complete failure.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Where to begin on this...

      1) You said: "ESC have the capacity to cause localized immune suppression, thus potentiating uninhibited tumor growth." The truth: The use of UNDIFFERENTIATED ESCs tend to cause teratomas (tumors), but Geron is not implanting undifferentiated ESCs. They're using cells derived from ESCs, and these do not cause tumors. There was not one single teratoma found in the years of pre-clinical work leading up to this study, and the FDA NEVER would have approved the study if they felt there were a risk of tumor formation.

      2) You said: "ESC have a large capacity for unexpected malignant transformation." The truth: See point 1 above.

      3) You said: "ESC therapy requires lifetime immune suppression, just like any other allogenic transplant." The truth: The study calls for low dose immune suppression for a few months, and no immune suppression is felt to be necessary beyond that. Read the study protocol if you don't believe me.

      4) You said: "The success of this therapy presents a potential conundrum if demand outweighs current, somewhat less controversial sources of ESC, in addition to substantial legal complications relating to profits (will IVF patients still be willing to sign their unused embryos away, or will they expect compensation should they be utilized, especially considering IVF is elective and extremely expensive.)" The truth: ESCs, unlike adult stem cells are highly scalable, i.e. they can be produced in very large quantities. Geron already has enough cells on hand to treat the entire global demand for this product for years, and they can readily manufacture more. Adult stem cells, in contrast, cannot be scalably manufactured. (Note that I am a supporter of adult stem cell research as well, so I am not trying to bash adult stem cells...just to make sure Boramin's post is not factually incorrect.)

      5) You said: "ASC are already extremely successful therapeutically." The truth: This is the case, but ASCs have limited utility because there are a whole host of diseases that ASCs cannot address. This is why scientists are so excited about the potential of ESCs to be used in conjunction with ASCs.

      6) You said: "ASC do not require immune suppression because they can be harvested from the patient in almost all cases." The truth: This is true, with the caveat that autologous therapies can be very expensive relative to allogenic therapies. if you want a medical treatment that ease the most human suffering, then the much lower cost of allogenic therapies is very appealing.

      7) You said: "ASC have less capacity for tumorigenesis" The truth: See response to point 1 above.

      It seems you need to study a bit harder in medical school.

      October 12, 2010 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
  20. JG

    Mr blues is an idiot, not all catholics think the same just cuz we are the same religion, I just don't get how u can say I would like to see a catholic cripple be in a pickle, I just don't see how that is funny bad taste of humor.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Barb from Des Plaines

    Maybe it's just "baby steps" in the bigger scientifiic process, but to me it represents a ginormous leap forward in thinking. Medical and scientific cures are possible! Let the scientists at these problems. Please stop trying to lesislate science into the dark ages. Some people would be happy just to be able to regain bladder/bowel control. Live in the world of what is–not in the world of what is not. Reality is a good place!

    October 12, 2010 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Boramin

    Scientist here-

    Vince is more on the money here folks.

    Would be great if it works, but right now they are more concerned about whether or not the patient will develop tumors or if the cells will simply be killed by the host immune system (as has been documented with ESC injection over and over again.) Basically what we've seen is if you inject too few, the immune system recognizes the allogenic implant (like an organ transplant) and kills it. If you inject too much, ESC have this nifty ability to suppress the host immune system, allowing unmitigated tumor growth. These scientists are crossing their fingers that they have found a perfect combination of differentiation treatments to get around these problems, but unfortunately, chances are one or both of the outcomes I listed are going to occur.

    And forget about efficacy, we'll get there when we prove we won't kill the patient in the process.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Toby

    I think it is time that all of you who are opposed to stem cell research heard from someone who could directly benefit from this.

    I am a C6 quadriplegic and I have been in a wheelchair for 19 years. For those of you unfamiliar with my condition, it means I am paralyzed from the chest down, with limited use of my arms and no use of my fingers.

    My life is harder and more frustrating than any if you can possibly imagine and this research its my only chance at some semblance of a normal life. I find it repugnant that you feel that you have the right to deny me this because of YOUR beliefs. How very Christian of you!

    I wish that all of you fanatics that are opposed to this could NOT walk a mile in my shoes! I am positive that you would be singing a different tune......

    October 12, 2010 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Barb from Des Plaines

    Boramin see Miami Project.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. kingsley

    This represents a giant leap in the history of medical science and indeed human evolution. Well done!!

    October 12, 2010 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. ficheye

    I missed all of the fun. What could SF have said that has got everyone so disgusted? The usual christian ranting about poor little unborn kids, bla bla bla? I say use the stem cells, prolong lives, cure disease, grow new organs. Do it now.

    October 12, 2010 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      I agree, but there are many things you can do when you otmipize your house for energy savings. Lights, solar hot water and energy efficient appliances. Solar attic fan too..All the best,-Pete

      November 16, 2012 at 01:23 | Report abuse |
  27. Mike

    Howard Sterns penis

    October 12, 2010 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Keith

    Someone named Ebelray sneers that this is just more BOGUS SCIENCE. Where do these people come from?
    He says that in 50 years we have not cured Jerry's kids or found a cure for cancer, he blithely ignores the fact that inn 2000 years Christianity has provided no answers to any problems let alone actually cured any disease, in spite of the endless blathering of the faithful sheep. Medical science has performed real miracles since it was able to escape the crushing bonds of religious ignorance and insanity while all the praying in creation has achieved NOTHING.
    If science can finally put the religious lunatics back under the rocks that they crawled out of then we can expect even more life saving and life enhancing therapies from these true gods of medicine. As for the herds of sheep, keep up the praying and stay away from this bogus modern medicine and lets hope you die in droves which of course you will, but at least you will die with a look of ecstasy on your face, or is that really the grin of insanity.

    October 12, 2010 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. angiesf

    Thank GOD for science. Viva la Cure!

    October 12, 2010 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Steve

    This is nonsense, adult stem cells have been used successfully for almost ten years now treating everything from infarcted heart tissue to krohns. Why is the government funding this nonsense? Why do we need to spend billions of dollars on ethically and scientifically dubious research?

    October 12, 2010 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sonovagun

      Oh, knock it off. You don't care about the results or the money. You're just another embyo-worshipping twit who is parading around pretending to be offended by the expenditure of funds. You don't know what ESC research will show; no one does. The fact that ASC have shown some promise is not a reason to ignore any possibility that ESC research will yield knowledge. ESC research has only been underway for a fraction of the time ASC research has gone on.

      Stop your silly posturing.

      October 12, 2010 at 09:15 | Report abuse |
  31. Your applications are accepted

    After reviewing all the brilliant comments made on this article, we graciously accept everyone's request to be entered into the stem cell research program in the greater effort of good by removing such a large scale of ignorant & nasty people from society & thus building our supply of stem cells in hope of saving people who may actually contribute positively to society than lurk on here with nothing better to do than make an @$$E$ of themselves. Please proceed to your nearest hospital and just tell them the FDA sent you. Thanks.

    October 12, 2010 at 02:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Steve

    Adult stem cells have been used successfully to treat everything from infacted heart tissue to krohns. Why in the world are we dumping billions of dollars into this scientifically and ethically dubious research?

    October 12, 2010 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jade Starrz

    My father is a quadriplegic as of three years ago tomorrow. I have been watching the news and reading the papers and talking to doctors, trying to get him into trials or anything like that. For me this news comes as both a miracle and a sadness. I am thankful that they are taking steps, that they have gotten the approval for things and I really hope they get the results that we all want to see. I'm just mildly saddened that they have to inject with such a fresh injury. Watching this though, I can only hope they expand the research and continue to gain positive results.

    As to Ryan... Awesome reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. = )

    October 12, 2010 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Jawz

    Who the hell is SF? Satan, keep trollin baby we live to to c u die. No stem cells for you.

    October 12, 2010 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Doppleganger

    I have a question for you... I understand that embryonic stem cells are not a panacea, however to assume that they will never cure paralysis when these are the exact cells that become the neural tissue that's damaged seems short sighted. To use an analogy, the Chinese were trying to launch themselves into space using explosives in the 1400s, and yet without them we probably wouldn't have gotten to the moon by now.

    In my personal opinion, embryonic stem cell research is the future. Adult stem cells will be used in treatments probably within my lifetime, I don't expect the same of embryonic stem cells. HOWEVER, you don't go from blowing yourself up to walking on the moon without A LOT of time and money spent.

    Do you really think that embryonic stem cells really have no use beyond the scope of adult stem cells? If so, where's the research your reading? I'm interested in the field and it's hard to sift through the bias dribble of people who know very little or are flat out crazy.

    Oh and crossing your fingers and hoping for the next penicillin or small pox vaccine never hurt anyone... plan for the worst, hope for the best right?

    October 12, 2010 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Elias

    This is definitely not the first trial using stem cells, here in Ecuador stem cells have been used successfully in treating quadriplegic patients with amazing results that include the return of movement to paralyzed extremities, also in treating Parkinson patients. It is time that research in the subject is conducted; it’s truly a scientific and medical break through.

    October 12, 2010 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Nothing Evil, Nothing Wicked

    A lot of good for mankind can come from a cluster of cells that would otherwise remain frozen and eventually be unviable for anything.

    October 12, 2010 at 06:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Catie

    So even when they have breakthroughs in skin stem cells and bone marrow stem cells we are still insisting on killing a life to uh save a life? I can see the fliers at the colleges now, ' Hey Gals, no money to party, no money for books ? We will pay you top dollar to get pregnant and then get an abortion!!'

    October 12, 2010 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lsKIWI

      I think this post demonstrates a critical lack of distinction that people have regarding "stem cells". These are not all equivalent. There are pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of making every cell type in the human body – these occur naturally, at very early stages of prior to embryonic implantation, or can now be made in the lab using an adult tissue sample of any sort using a simple cocktail of four special naturally-occurring proteins.Then there are tissue-restricted stem cells, which include those found in cord blood from the umbilicus, or in the bone marrow. As the name implies, these are capable of producing mature cell types of a limited nature. Cord stem cells will make all the normal blood cells that you or I have, as will bone marrow-derived stem cells from you that have been transplanted into me (although I will have to take immunosuppressants to stop my body rejecting your stem cells and their descendants). Although there was a lot of hope, and hype from various quarters, it appears that there is very little success in (say) using bone marrow stem cells to repair a heart after infarction, or to repair a serious eye injury. That is not to say that they never will be able to, but there has been very little [positive news from any of the studies performed to date.

      Bottom line: all stem cells are not created equal. Despite religious and moral objectives, we should explore all possible sources in an unbiased manner, figure out what works where and what does not, try to limit the use of embryonic stem cells wherever possible in consideration of some people's objections to using fetal material, and not lose sight of the goal, which is to alleviate or cure what are currently debilitating or fatal disorders that some of us have.

      October 12, 2010 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
  39. Dr Bill Toth

    Very Exciting stuff!

    October 12, 2010 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Fallowt

    Time will tell. I hope it works, something has to.

    October 12, 2010 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. suz

    My mother had stem cells injected in her brain after having a severe stroke that left her paralized on her right side and some brain damage. She participated in the trial in the early 2000's at Stamford Hospital in CA., where they were conducting the research. Although she did have some brain bleed afterward where they had to go in and remove the blood, she had some pretty amazing results in some areas. She regained some movement in a couple of her right fingers and could move her right ankle, and she regained alot of her memory right away. This was a very early trial and I can only imagine how far they've come in their research now. Being able to use embryonic stem cells in new trials is a huge step towards caring and possibly healing paralyzed patients and very possibly cancer and a muried of other fatal and/or debilitating diseases.

    October 12, 2010 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. guests

    For so many atheists who support abortion, I can only laugh when atheists show such faith that stem cell research will cure all of the world's ills. Such notions are as silly as putting your trust in an institution that preaches about an invisible being that controls reality. Coming from the industry, stem cell research generates mountains of buzz and emotion from people who really have no idea about the science of stem cells and what they could possibly be capable of. I'll save you some time and money by letting you know that any doctor, or pseudo-doctor, that claims that they can cure your neurological affliction by injecting you with embryonic stem cells should be considered a fraud and treated accordingly. The time and effort put in by both sides of the abortion debate would be put to much better use funding cures through other means. Nearly any neurologist or neuro-scientist will agree, except for the yo-yo's conducting these trials. These scientists will conduct these trials because they're getting paid to, they have to eat too and why not waste 20 years and millions of investment dollars if it ensures your survival. Good luck with the abortion debate people, this won't help your cause.

    October 12, 2010 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Science saves lives

    Christopher Reeve is looking down, smiling!

    October 12, 2010 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Mr. E.

    Pres' W. outlawed this research. China picked it up. During those 8 years, they advanced this science. China has already done human trials. Obama put us back on track, but thanks to W, we're even further behind the curve.

    October 12, 2010 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. sonovagun

    Oh, and Catie? If "left over embryos are no good", then why are they still capable of being used for IVF, you little dweeb?

    October 12, 2010 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Lindsay

    It's good to scientific research and funding going towards something more beneficial than erectile dysfunction and weight loss.

    October 12, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Veronica13

    It is a simple question of does the end justify the means. Creating humans to sacrifice for another's benefit appears wrong. If it is for IVF, science, or any other reason, creating humans for another person to benefit is morally wrong.

    October 12, 2010 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. mtrought

    I am happy that one of the ultimate curatives in human history is now being used to heal people and I am sure it will go a far way in ensuring that people will not have to suffer or die from illnesses needlessly

    October 12, 2010 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Carl

    Wow...it's amazing how many "experts" out there don't have a clue where these cells come from. The ES cells used in any type of research (including the Geron study) come from extra blastocysts (not embryos, they're not old enough yet) from IVF clinics. People go to the clinic because they can't conceive a child normally. The clinic takes donor eggs and sperm and fertilizes multiple eggs (because not all of them are viable, as anyone who has gone through a miscarriage knows). Invariably there will be extra fertilized eggs as a result once one is successfully implanted (i.e. the mother becomes pregnant). These extra fertilized eggs will be discarded by the clinic because it's too expensive to store them long term and there's a whole other issue of someone else becoming pregnant with someone's fertilized eggs.

    IF (and this is the important part) IF THE DONOR PARENTS AGREE TO IT they can donate these extra fertilized eggs for research purposes. Let me say that again - THE DONOR PARENTS HAVE TO GIVE THEIR FULLY INFORMED CONSENT for this to happen. At this point, there is little more than a ball of cells smaller than a period on the screen you are reading. There is no embryo. There is no fetus. These cells are going to be DISCARDED unless they are used. In other words, the cells will be essentially thrown away (and therefore die).

    October 12, 2010 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. southern

    This young man well deserve this he is a well respected child and comes from a great family. He is a strong young man.

    October 12, 2010 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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