Eye Trials Give Hope for Stem Cells – The Scientist News Feature
After the pioneering stem cell company Geron, which launched the first-ever clinical trial for a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) therapy in 2010, shuttered its stem cell program last November for financial reasons, a shadow fell over the field of stem cell medicine. But yesterday, optimism rose as the stem cell research company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) published in The Lancet preliminary data from two human patients, each with a different degenerative eye disorder, showing safety and perhaps even some efficacy of an hESC treatment.
“This is a milestone that will offer tremendous encouragement to the field, and promises hope for many families,” said George Daley, director of the stem cell transplantation program at Children’s Hospital Boston who was not involved in the research, in an email to The Scientist. “But these are still very early days of an uncontrolled and unblinded trial, and we have much more to learn about the safety and effectiveness of this new treatment before we can claim success.”
Photo: Leni Murphy