Geron Corporation will begin the world’s first study of a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells. The researchers hope to use the treatment to help those with spinal cord injuries.
Today, the FDA announced that it has approved Geron Corporation’s application to conduct a study using embryonic stem cells. As reported in the Christian Post, Geron Corporation will inject eight to 10 paraplegic patients with embryonic stem cells cells in the hopes of improving movement in their legs.
This is the first study using human embryonic stem cells in the United States. Anti-abortion activists oppose the use of embryonic cells in medical research because they believe such research may encourage abortion. The embryos used in the research typically come from abortions. Anti-abortion advocates argue that adult stem cells obtained from adult donors should be used instead in such research.
Many scientists have been fighting to use embryonic stem cells in medical research because they have the most potential to quickly turn into any adult human cells. Thus, they can be used as replacement tissue for spinal cord injuries or burn victims more effectively than adult stem cells, which are slower to adapt.
The Bush Administration restricted federal funding to research that used embryonic stem cells. Democratic politicians, like Barack Obama, have proposed that federal funding should be allowed for research that uses stem cells from embryos that are going to be discarded as medical waste. In other words, under Obama’s plan, the government will not fund studies that conduct abortions, but will fund studies that use embryos from abortions that already occurred.
Since Geron Corporation’s study does not use federal funds, it would not have faced any restrictions under the Bush Administration, according to the Christian Post. The company has stated that the FDA approval of its study was not related to the change in the White House.
You can read more about the Geron Corporation at its website.
Now that Obama is in the White House, the federal government will likely begin funding within months.
Below is a video of Barack Obama on stem cell research during the Rick Warren debate: