Hans Keirstead [of UC Irvine] is making paralyzed rats walk again by injecting them with healthy brain cells. …Disclosure. I just placed an order to buy a few shares of Geron.
Keirstead hopes to apply his therapy to humans by 2006. If his ambitious timetable keeps to schedule, Keirstead's work will be the first human embryonic stem cell treatment given to humans. …
For the last two years, he has shown dramatic video footage of healed rats walking to scientific gatherings [I doubt that the rats walked all the way from Irvine to the conferences!] and during campaign events to promote California's $3 billion bond measure to fund stem cell work, which passed in November. …
Meanwhile, Keirstead and his corporate sponsor -- Menlo Park-based Geron Corp. -- are designing the initial human experiments, which will test for safety and involve just a handful of volunteers. The volunteers likely will be patients who have been recently injured. …
Critics complain privately that Keirstead is beholden to Menlo Park-based Geron, which claims a Microsoft-like grip on any commercial stem cell market that emerges.
Geron funded the work of University of Wisconsin researcher Jamie Thomson, who discovered human embryonic stem cells in 1998, and the company funds Keirstead's lab at $500,000 a year. Geron owns the commercial rights to any drug Keirstead may develop.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Stem Cell Researcher Makes Paralyzed Rats Walk
From Technology Review: