Geron Dumps Stem-Cell Investigation
Geron is dumping (or seeking a partnership for) its stem-cell development program, according to a company press release from November 14. The stated reason: Geron wants to focus on its “first-class” oncology programs, which are not beyond the phase 2 stage of development, in “the current environment of capital scarcity and uncertain economic condition.”
So Geron is closing its “GRNOPC1 trial for spinal cord injury to further enrollment, although
it will continue to follow all enrolled patients, accruing data and
updating [the] FDA and the medical community on their progress.” As of July, only 4 patients had been enrolled in the landmark and highly publicized trial, in which “GRNOPC1 has been well tolerated with no serious adverse events,” according to Geron.
Geron’s exit from clinical hESC investigation leaves Advanced Cell Technology as the only company, to my knowledge, that is actively engaged in clinical trials of human embryonic stem cells (specifically in cases of Stardgardt’s disease and dry age-related macular degeneration [AMD]).
Besides oligodendrocyte hESCs (GRNOPC1), Geron is/was developing cardiomyocyte, pancreatic islet cell, dendritic cell, and chrondrocyte hESCs.
Transverse section of the thoracic spinal cord from Gray’s Anatomy (1918).