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The Obama administration has approved the bid by cloning company Geron to undertake the first trial involving the use of embryonic stem cells in humans. They have never been used before in people because the cells cause tumors and have immune system rejection issues when tried in animals.
Scientists and pro-life advocates say human embryonic stem cells are not ready for trial because problems associated with the cells in animals haven't been solved. The embryonic stem cells still cause tumors and have issues with the immune system rejecting the injection of the cells.
The Food and Drug Administration has initially placed the trial on hold but Geron indicated today that the agency is now allowing it to proceed with an early stage trial on an stem cell therapy for acute spinal cord injury.
The FDA placed a hold on the trial last August, when evidence showed Geron's GRNOPC1 encountered safety issues when used in animal studies. Geron's own data showed higher frequency of small cysts within the injury site in the spinal cord of animals injected with the embryonic cells.