Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) today announced the enrollment of the first patient in the company's clinical trial of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, GRNOPC1. The primary objective of this Phase I study is to assess the safety and tolerability of GRNOPC1 in patients with "complete" American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale grade A thoracic spinal cord injuries. Participants in the study must be newly injured and receive GRNOPC1 within 14 days of the injury.
“Initiating the GRNOPC1 clinical trial is a milestone for the field of human embryonic stem cell-based therapies”
The patient was enrolled at Shepherd Center, a 132-bed spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital and clinical research center in Atlanta, GA. Shepherd Center is one of seven potential sites in the United States that may enroll patients in the clinical trial.
"Initiating the GRNOPC1 clinical trial is a milestone for the field of human embryonic stem cell-based therapies," said Thomas B. Okarma, Ph.D., M.D., Geron's president and CEO. "When we started working with hESCs in 1999, many predicted that it would be a number of decades before a cell therapy would be approved for human clinical trials. This accomplishment results from extensive research and development and a succession of inventive steps to enable production of cGMP master cell banks, scalable manufacture of differentiated cell product, and preclinical studies in vitro and in animal models of spinal cord injury, leading to concurrence by the FDA to initiate the clinical trial."