Geron to Shut Down Stem Cell Programs

15 November 2011
In a surprise announcement, the Geron Corporation will discontinue its human embryonic stem cell programs effective immediately to focus on its oncology program. Citing "capital scarcity and uncertain economic conditions", Geron stated that the patients treated to date had not reported any complications and will continue to be monitored. They plan to seek partners to further develop their stem cell programs.

However, the news is disappointing for patients who had been monitoring the progress of the clinical research. Joanna Knott, Chair of SpinalCure Australia, stated "This is incredibly sad and frustrating news for people with spinal injuries and their families. It is devastating for those people who will have a spinal injury and may as a result of this research been cured.” Dr Stephanie Williams, CEO The Spinal Cord Injury Network, added "It seems a great loss that a clinical trial that required so much effort to establish and went through a rigorous FDA approval process should falter due to adverse economic conditions."

Professor Martin Pera, from Stem Cells Australia, also commented "The Geron Corporation's decision to withdraw from the field of regenerative medicine is an example of how economic considerations and changes in corporate strategy can impact on the development of promising novel therapeutics with high risk, high payoff development trajectories. The action is certainly an argument for continued public support for translational and clinical research in this field, and shows the importance of exploring new business models for development of such products."

For more information: Geron to Focus on its Novel Cancer Programs

Media Coverage:
US drug company halts world's first official human embryonic stem cell clinical trial The Telegraph 16 November 2011
Stem cell trial halted ABC The World Today 16 November 2011
Stem cell trial halted BBC News 16 November 2011
Stem cell innovator James Thomson says Geron blazed trail for others to follow FORBES 15 November 2011
Geron exists stem cell research Los Angeles Times 15 November 2011