So, the election has passed. President Obama promises to repeal the Bush executive orders signed in October 2001 severely restricted embryonic stem cell research. In addition, the FDA has approved the first, albeit very small, embryonic stem cell trial.
This first trial will attempt to treat spinal-cord injury patients. The biotech firm Geron of Menlo Park CA is conducting the trial. The trial will test the safety of the treatment, not how well it works.
In any case, I personally feel that of the potential uses for stem cells, spinal-cord patients should be on the top of the list. I am very interested in stem cell research being a potential cure for auto-immune based diabetes. However, there are other diseases I feel are far more debilitating and if there is a pecking order I would want them resolved first.
This first FDA approval, in conjunction with the anticipated upcoming Obama administration reversal of current policies, offers hope to many. Whether the hope comes in the form of improved treatment for my friend with Parkinson’s disease, or for someone’s grandparent who has Alzheimer’s or a paraplegic is not important to me. What is important is people with very life limiting diseases now have hope of a cure, to receive effective treatment. What is important is that there is now hope and hope is probably as important to someone with a life limiting or life-threatening disease as anything else is. So President Obama, let’s get it done and Geron good luck with this first embryonic stem cell trial.
Doris J. Dickson