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Thread: Geron to pick second stem cell target

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Geron to pick second stem cell target

    http://today.reuters.com/business/ne...6&imageid=&cap=

    Geron to pick second stem cell target
    Thursday 23 February 2006, 7:43pm EST


    By Julie Steenhuysen

    LOS ANGELES, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Biotechnology company Geron Corp. (GERN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has shown success in preventing heart failure in rats and will decide by late this year whether to focus its next stem cell human research on heart failure or diabetes, Chief Executive Tom Okarma said on Wednesday.

    Okarma, speaking at the Reuters Biotechnology Summit in Los Angeles, said Geron will choose either the heart failure or diabetes stem cell therapy as its next major foray into testing embryonic stem cells in humans.

    The company already has plans to start a trial in humans using stem cells to treat severe spinal cord injuries, which Okarma said will happen in the first or second quarter of 2007.

    The company will apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the fourth quarter of 2006 to begin the trials on spinal cord victims, he added.

    Data from of Geron's rat study, released on Wednesday, found that the human embryonic stem cells survived and helped to prevent the onset of heart failure when transplanted into the hearts of rats following heart attacks.

    Heart failure often occurs following heart attacks when the weakened heart muscle supplies less oxygen-rich blood to the body.

    The Menlo Park, California-based company has one of the largest portfolios of intellectual property related to embryonic stem cells.

    "What the world doesn't seem to realize is how far we've come toward actually putting these cells into patients," Okarma said.

    Stem cells are the body's master cells, used to continually regenerate tissues, organs and blood. Those taken from very early-stage embryos are considered the most versatile. They can produce any kind of tissue in the body.

    The hope is to someday use human embryonic stem cells as a source of new cells to treat diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and some injuries.

    Geron is working to develop cancer treatments targeting telomerase, an enzyme that Geron said is active in most cancer cells and which allows them to grow and multiply over long periods of time.

    That led to a licensing deal in July with Merck & Co. Inc.(MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to develop a cancer vaccine. As part of that deal, Merck agreed to buy an equity stake in Geron.

    Merck, one of the largest U.S. drugmakers, exercised that option in September, buying nearly 3 percent of its outstanding shares, worth $18 million.

    Thanks in part to the Merck deal and controlled spending, Geron has no debt and a strong cash position, its CEO said.
    "There is nothing fancy going on at Geron. We watch our pennies very carefully," he said.

  2. #2
    This trial timeline gets longer with every article - first it was to be the latter part of 06', then first quarter 07' and now possibly later

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherrylips
    This trial timeline gets longer with every article - first it was to be the latter part of 06', then first quarter 07' and now possibly later
    Actually Cherry, they've said all along that they'd file an IND in 2006. So the statement in the article is still the same.

    My main concern is other scientists not being supportive of the trial.........urging more waiting and such under the guise of "caution".

    I like how Keistad puts it:
    Dr. Keirstead, "There will always be people who say slow
    down, slow down," he said. "I guarantee you none of them have relatives in wheelchairs."


    http://www.researchforcure.org/Meet%...Scientists.htm

    "There’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority,” Molly Ivins explained; “What you need is sustained outrage.”
    Kerr, Keirstead, McDonald, Stice and Jun Yan courageously work on ESCR to Cure SCI.

    Divisiveness comes from not following Christopher Reeve's ESCR lead.
    Young does ASCR.
    [I]I do not tear down CRPA, I ONLY make peopl

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    Leif and Cherry, here is an article from a year ago which is still consistent with what's happening today:

    Moving Stem Cells Front and Center

    By ANDREW POLLACK

    Published: February 23, 2005


    Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press
    Hans S. Keirstead helped lure Californians to the polls last fall to approve spending $3 billion of the state's money on embryonic stem cell research over the next decade.
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    Cells by Design




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    Jamie Rector for The New York Times


    Embryonic stem cells at the Reeve-Irvine Research Center are prepared for researchers. The cells can form any other kind of cell in the body.

    RVINE, Calif. - Hans S. Keirstead might be the Pied Piper of stem cells - and not just because he makes rats walk. He also helped lure Californians to the polls last fall to approve spending $3 billion of the state's money on embryonic stem cell research over the next decade. But he has critics who worry that he may be leading their new field too far, too soon into uncharted territory.
    Dr. Keirstead, an assistant professor at the University of California campus here, has been making paralyzed rats walk again, using a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells. Next year he and his corporate partner, Geron, plan to try treating people who have recent spinal cord injuries, in what would almost certainly be the first human trial of any therapy derived from such cells.
    "You've got a patient community out there that is in desperate need," Dr. Keirstead said in an interview. "If the treatment is safe, let's get it out there and try it."
    And to those who argue that it is too soon to test his technique on humans, he has an answer. "There will always be people who say slow down, slow down," he said. "I guarantee you none of them have relatives in wheelchairs."
    With his gung-ho attitude, the good looks of a surfer and a compelling story to tell, Dr. Keirstead, 37, emerged as one of the leading scientific voices behind the movement that persuaded California voters last November to approve a measure to sidestep federal funding restrictions on stem cell research. His supporters included people with spinal cord injuries, most notably Christopher Reeve, the wheelchair-bound actor who taped a campaign ad citing Dr. Keirstead's research just before he died in October.
    But for all of Dr. Keirstead's fans and backers, a number of researchers in California and elsewhere say the scientific validity of his work has not been proved and the technique might not be ready for testing in people. A failure in the first high-profile human test could dash some of the hope spawned by the passage of the California ballot measure.
    "A lot of things make rats better," said Jerry Silver, a neuroscientist at Case Western Reserve University, who argued that Dr. Keirstead should test his treatment in dogs or monkeys first. "You can't announce you are going into humans because you've gotten good results in rats."
    Mark H. Tuszynski, a professor and director of the center for neural repair at the University of California, San Diego, echoed that view. "I think the jury is still out," he said, "on whether this is a useful approach." Dr. Tuszynski, co-founder of a company trying to use gene therapy to treat neurological diseases, said he would prefer to see "more compelling evidence" from Dr. Keirstead's work before human testing.
    The new California stem cell research board that was set up after passage of last fall's ballot measure, Proposition 71, is still organizing itself and figuring out how to begin awarding public grants to scientists. But Dr. Keirstead has been able to speed forward, fueled by money from Geron, a California biotechnology company, which is eager to demonstrate to investors that practical use of stem cells is not a distant dream.

    Mr. Klein said it was "extremely welcome" that, under Dr. Keirstead, embryonic stem cell therapy was moving toward clinical trials. He said the public needed to know in advance, however, that as with many new therapies, the first trial is not expected to succeed. "It may take several years, or many years, to refine," he said.
    Dr. Keirstead's work was a rallying point during the Proposition 71 campaign; he gave 14 speeches to various civic, political and business groups to whom he showed a video of his rat research.



    In it, an untreated rat struggled to pull itself along the ground using its forelimbs as its paralyzed hind legs, tail and belly scraped along the ground. A rat treated with Dr. Keirstead's cells was then shown moving its hind legs, though not perfectly, and keeping its tail in the air.
    "Stem cells have already cured paralysis in animals," Mr. Reeve, the actor, said in the commercial he filmed, which was broadcast after his death. He urged voters to "stand up for those who can't."
    John W. McDonald, director of the international spinal cord injury and paralysis center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, said "to date, not enough has been shown" by Dr. Keirstead and Geron to allow federal regulators to authorize a clinical trial. Even so, he said Dr. Keirstead was being unfairly criticized.
    "Scientists aren't too kind to other scientists' receiving too much attention," said Dr. McDonald, who himself received notice for therapy that restored some minor movement and sensation in Mr. Reeve. "I think that's what you're seeing."
    Dr. Keirstead's optimism has won him praise from people with spinal cord injuries and their families.
    "He cares about patients intensely; it's not just a job for him," said Don C. Reed, a retired schoolteacher and Proposition 71 advocate from Fremont, Calif., whose son, Roman, was paralyzed in a college football accident 10 years ago.
    "I held in my hand a rat that had walked again after being paralyzed," Mr. Reed said, "and this with my son sitting there in his wheelchair."
    Thomas B. Okarma, Geron's president, said next year's trial of Dr. Keirstead's approach would mainly check for safety. The oligodendrocytes would be inserted into the spinal columns of patients at the same time they have an operation that is common after spinal cord injury and is aimed at preventing further damage.
    Dr. Okarma denied that the trial was premature or risky, but noted that Geron would have to apply to the Food and Drug Administration next year and receive approval before beginning the trial. Asked about the criticism from others, he responded: "There's a lot of jealousy. What can I tell you? This is the hottest thing in medicine."
    Geron is providing about $500,000 a year to Dr. Keirstead's lab. As long as that continues, Dr. Keirstead said that he did not need any grants from the Proposition 71 ballot measure he helped pass and that he might not even have the capacity to use the money. "There's only so much I can do," he said.
    But then he stopped and thought again, before saying that state money would be welcome. "Research goes as fast as the dollars," he said.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/23/bu...uuMkXp7szJbxJw

    "There’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority,” Molly Ivins explained; “What you need is sustained outrage.”
    Kerr, Keirstead, McDonald, Stice and Jun Yan courageously work on ESCR to Cure SCI.

    Divisiveness comes from not following Christopher Reeve's ESCR lead.
    Young does ASCR.
    [I]I do not tear down CRPA, I ONLY make peopl

  5. #5
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    Thanks I know, but whaty I meant here is that Geron is quite busy these days with several clinical trials and treatment methods for different diseases and illnesses.

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    Hi Leif And Faye

    Dear Faye and Leif


    Hope you will be fine.

    As i told earlier you both are my favourites so lot of love and best wishes for you. Now tell me one thing that will these trials of Geron with SCI Patients be free or one will have to pay for the trials?

    God bless both of you.

    Sincerely

    Jawaid

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jawaid
    Dear Faye and Leif


    Hope you will be fine.

    As i told earlier you both are my favourites so lot of love and best wishes for you. Now tell me one thing that will these trials of Geron with SCI Patients be free or one will have to pay for the trials?

    God bless both of you.

    Sincerely

    Jawaid
    The SCI trials are supposed to be for acute injuries, no date for trials set but it will be listed here when ready; http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct

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    Keirstad on 60 Minutes Sunday on CBS

    Scientist Hopes For Stem Cell Success

    Feb. 23, 2006

    (CBS) The doctor who injected human stem cells into paralyzed rats and saw them walk again knows he may not be able to duplicate the feat in humans.

    But the walking rats give Hans Keirstead and the millions who could benefit from his research the hope that something positive will come out of human clinical trials he hopes will take place.

    60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley talks to Keirstead about stem-cell research this Sunday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

    Keirstead believes that embryonic stem cells — cells culled from a fertilized human egg that can grow into any type of cell in the body — are a medical milestone seen only every 100 years.

    "I have never seen in my career a biological tool as powerful as the stem cells. It addresses every single human disease," says Keirstead.

    So when he injected them into the spine of a paralyzed rat, they replaced the damaged spinal cells that were causing the paralysis. The rat walked again, but Keirstead knows it’s a huge leap to expect a human to do that.

    "The fears of giving someone false hope are real," Keirstead tells Bradley. "We’re not trying to come up with something to take people from zero capabilities to 100 percent. These are incremental advances and it’s experimental. I think we could call this a dazzling success if we saw the smallest improvement in the ability of a human to do anything that they could not do. If they could move a single finger, I would call that a raving success. Let’s hope it’s a lot more."

    Keirstead has his critics who say he is trying to rush the treatment into humans, in whom the side effects from stem cells are unknown and could include the formation of tumors or other abnormal cells.

    "I am very concerned and I’ll be losing sleep, no doubt, when this first gets into humans," says Keirstead. "There is a potential for harm. This is a risky endeavor, like any clinical trial."

    Some, including President Bush, who believe life starts in the fertilized egg, think harm is already being done because when the stem cells are taken from a human embryo, the embryo dies. The federal government, for this reason, has restricted funds for stem-cell research. People like Keirstead raise money privately and some states have begun to pass laws to make funds available for the research.

    Keirstead says he is doing good, pointing out that the embryos being used were created for in-vitro fertilization and, because they are no longer needed, fertility clinics often discarded them.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/...e1341635.shtml

    "There’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority,” Molly Ivins explained; “What you need is sustained outrage.”
    Kerr, Keirstead, McDonald, Stice and Jun Yan courageously work on ESCR to Cure SCI.

    Divisiveness comes from not following Christopher Reeve's ESCR lead.
    Young does ASCR.
    [I]I do not tear down CRPA, I ONLY make peopl

  9. #9
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    Looking forward to watch this.

  10. #10
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    Leif Will We Have To Pay For Clinical Trials Or Trials Will Be Free?

    Jawaid

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