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- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
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Feds OK 2nd human study of embryonic stem cells
NEW YORK (AP) - For only the second time, the U.S. government has approved a test in people of a treatment using embryonic stem cells _ this time for a rare disease that causes serious vision loss.
Just last month another biotech company, Geron Corp., said it had begun preliminary testing in people for treating spinal cord injuries by injecting cells derived from embryonic stem cells.
Scientists hope to use stem cells to create a variety of tissues for transplant. But human embryos have to be destroyed to harvest those cells, which has made their use controversial.
ACT’s experiment will focus on Stargardt disease, which affects only about 30,000 Americans. But the company hopes the same approach will work for similar and more common eye disorders like age-related macular degeneration, which affects millions.
Stargardt is an inherited disorder that attacks central vision used for tasks like reading and recognizing faces. Some patients go totally blind, even losing peripheral vision, while others are severely impaired and can only perceive light or see their hands moving in front of their faces.
The disease typically starts in adolescence. The key problem is that impaired scavenger cells fail to remove toxic byproducts from the eye, allowing them to build up and kill other cells. There is no proven treatment.
In the new study, 12 patients will be treated with healthy scavenger cells, created in a laboratory from human embryonic stem cells. This early phase of the research is primarily to test the safety of various doses, injecting only one eye of each patient.
“We’re also hoping to see some improvement in visual acuity, but that’s a bonus,” said Dr. Robert Lanza, ACT’s chief scientific officer.
The research will be performed at medical centers in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon, ACT said.
Stephen Rose, chief research officer of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, said his group is “very, very glad” that ACT has permission to begin the study.
Stargardt disease: http://bit.ly/bioNHS
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- IRS pays tax cheats hundreds of millions of dollars
- HURT: D.C. gets the vapors, calls sequester too much
- Top Democrats reject court ruling over NSA spying on Americans
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- EDITORIAL: Al Gore, soothsayer
- Obama mocks Putin, picks gay athletes for Sochi delegation
- We told you so: Conservatives foresaw polygamy ruling
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- Senators in rush to pass budget vow to undo cut to military retirement pay
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