What’s new in spinal cord repair?


Tuesday, June 7, 2022
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM PDT
Please register here for the Zoom details: www.ccmtg.eventbrite.ca

Come join us for an interactive conversation with experts to discuss the latest in different approaches to spinal cord repair!

Andrea Townson, MD, FRCPC
Medical Co-Chair, Regional Rehab Program, VCHA
Clinical Professor
Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia

John Madden, PhD, PEng
Director, Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia

Karim Fouad, PhD
Co-Director and Editor, Open Data Commons-SCI
Professor and Canada Research Chair for Spinal Cord Injury
Department of Physical Therapy and Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, University of Alberta

Judy Illes, CM, PhD
Director, Neuroethics Canada
Professor and Distinguished University Scholar, UBC Distinguished Professor in Neuroethics
Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia


Stem cell trial for spinal cord injuries halted: SCI individuals as lab rats?

The world’s first official trial for spinal cord injuries with embryonic stem cell-based products has been halted. Geron, the investigator company who received FDA approval for this study in 2009 and enrolled its first patient in 2010, announced on November 15 2011 that this trial would be discontinued with “immediate effect”.

Geron justified its decision on grounds of “capital scarcity and uncertain economic conditions” in its official press release. These concerns were reiterated in their webcast, which explained their steps along the lines of stakeholders’ interests: Geron had to keep the highest return for stakeholders in mind. The company suggested that the resources would now be used for advancing its in-house cancer trials (phase II).

Patient advocates were disappointed with the decision, particularly in relation to the motivations for the decision. Daniel Heumann was quoted by the Washington post as saying: “”I’m disgusted. It makes me sick. To get people’s hopes up and then do this for financial reasons is despicable. They’re treating us like lab rats.”” Continue reading