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First patient being treated by Stem cell therapy

"An unnamed person suffering from a spinal cord injury has become the first patient to receive Stem Cell Therapy for his/her injuries and is being treated at the Shepherd Center, a 132-bed hospital in Atlanta specializing in spinal cord and brain injuries. The treatment is being sponsored by Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, California.
Without releasing any information about the patient or the nature of the injury, doctors have said that the treatment will be one of first to test the effectiveness and safety of such a process and tests will be conducted to see whether the treatment restores sensation or enables the patient to regain movement. Stem Cell Therapy has always been a controversial subject, with moral concerns being voiced as to the harvesting of stem cells from human embryos as well as the safety and the risks involved in such a study. The research which is supposed to have huge potential for a number of diseases, was forced to take many a step backward when Jesse Gelsinger,died in 1999 from a gene therapy experiment. Since then after a long wait, the FDA has finally given the go ahead for such a study in July.
Thomas B. Okarma Geron's president and chief executive, in a statement said , 'Initiating the clinical trial is a milestone for the field of human embryonic stem cell-based therapies. This accomplishment results from extensive research and development and a succession of inventive steps.'
The first trial will include ten patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury in one or two previous weeks. 2 million 'oligodendrocyte progenitor cells,' will be injected into the first patient's body in the hopes that they will form a restorative coating around the damaged areas of the spine. Similar injections given to hundreds of partially paralysed rats showed that the creatures were able to walk again.
But others wonder about the legal implications of the decision that patients who have suffered such an injury take. Okarma said that precautions such as including assigning each subject an independent advocate, will guarantee that volunteers fully understand their decisions."

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