This is a huge story in the ongoing saga of destroying embryos for research purposes. Geron Corporation was among the biggest cheerleaders of this unethical research for years. Geron was awarded the first human trial by the FDA using a product of embryonic stem cells for treatment of spinal cord patients. According to the Washington Post, Geron will “stop enrolling new patients but will continue to follow those currently participating.”
The Post story announcing this switch is heavily biased, of course, in favor of embryonic stem cell research, opening its story with the following statement: “The company doing the first government-approved test of embryonic stem cell therapy is discontinuing further stem cell work, a move with stark implications for a field offering hope of future medicines for conditions with inadequate or no current treatments.”
Geron is laying off significant staff and will concentrate instead on cancer drug tests. The company said the decision “was made after a strategic review of the costs,…timelines and clinical, manufacturing and regulatory complexities associated with the company’s research and clinical-stage assets.”
Wesley Smith raises some interesting questions about the Geron turnaround. “Was it the recent European ruling banning the patenting of embryonic stem cell products…a factor? Was its human trial a disappointment? If it is out of money, why aren’t venture capitalists more willing to invest more in the field if it is so promising?”
Whatever the real reason, this is a huge failure and setback for the fledgling embryonic stem cell field. And, very good news for embryos about to be sacrificed on the altar of research.
Read the Washington Post story here.