Where are the cures?

It seems like the stem cell news cycle alternates between stories of incremental hope (take the heart disease model for drug discovery out of Stanford today) and stories decrying the woeful lack of cures out of CIRM. I think the popular imagination went from the word "cure" when Proposition 71 passed in 2004 to an immediate need to see those cures by 2005. Or at least by 2011.

Clinical Trial of Hope at Stanford -- guest blogger Roman Reed

Under the direction of Dr. Gary Steinberg, an advance long considered impossible is moving forward today: Stanford announced yesterday that it will participate in Geron's human clinical safety trials for a novel treatment for spinal cord injury. These are safety trials to be sure and not efficacy trials, more tests will need to be run, but this is already farther along than ever before.

Update on stem cell treatments for spinal cord injury

A nod to Paul Knoepfler at UC Davis, who has posted a blog entry about the Geron trial for spinal cord injury. It provides a nice summary of the science behind the trial, and a reminder of why patients might be hard to recruit. He refers to Michael Martinez, a jockey who recently sustained a severe spinal cord injury, and who was rejected for participation in Geron's trial developed from human embryonic stem cells. As Knoepfler points out:

Multilayer retinina created from embryonic stem cells

More news from UC Irvine, this time relating to retinal diseases such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and Stargardt's disease. A group led by Hans Keirstead of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center and the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center created an 8-layer retina from human embryonic stem cells.

In a press release, Keirstead said:

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