Stem cell research in the embryonic stage

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research are hailing a new era as Geron has injected its first patient with about 2 million "oligodendrocyte progenitor cells." Opponents of embryonic stem cell research are, predictably, less than impressed, accusing the company of attempting to boost its stock price.

Some of the nervousness among scientists involves not the predictable reactions of stem cell research foes, but of the unpredictable possible reactions of the public. HealthDay notes: "There's a lot of angst around these trials," Evan Snyder, director of the stem cell program at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in San Diego, tells the Washington Post. "There's going to be this perception that if the cells do not perform well, the entire field will be illegitimate."

Geron's trial involves 10 partially paralyzed patients who suffered spinal cord injuries within the previous couple of weeks. Stem cells are converted into nerve cells that are injected into the damaged area of the spinal cord in the hopes that the stem cells will help repair nerve cells around the damaged area.

- take a look at Geron's page
- see the Washington Post's story
- get more from HealthDay
- and an opinion poll
- get the Atlanta Journal Constitution's coverage from Ground Zero of the stem cell experiment