Exciting SCI research calls it quitsNov 19 01:51
A cloud of sadness must have fallen over quite a few number of people with spinal cord injuries on Monday when Geron, the first bio-tech company to receive Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which was aimed at helping people with new spinal cord injuries, announced they're putting an immediate stop to their program. And the reason: They ran out of money. Sadly, this is what happens when your results aren’t as expected - investors start running.
As someone who’s been waiting many years for the day when a research program like this, something with a actual prospect in providing real results, it was like a swift kick in the gut when I heard the news of their sudden departure. Sure, when they didn’t announce miraculous results at their first press conference I knew this particular research wasn’t going to be the Godsend we’ve been eagerly awaiting, but for them to stop everything, like this? I didn’t see that coming.
There was so much built-up in the company’s creation. First, the announcement of their research; much ballyhooed with lots of media attention. Then there was their impressive lobbying skills that snagged that coveted Federal funding. Every major news outlet from Fox to CNN covered this story. I think everyone was expecting to see some groundbreaking results: People recovering real sensation and movement below their injury (especially in the Sacral area). But sadly, that wasn’t the case.
For Geron to bow out like they are, which includes laying off 66 employees, their results must have definitely been sub-par (the 21 year old man who received the stem cells is still paralyzed). I think this whole Geron thing was a test of our resolve. We can’t expect a miracle the first time around. I just hope Geron has at least a few clues as to why their research wasn’t as successful as in was in their rat models.
Alright next research program out there, are you ready? Lets see your teeth.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.