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Two new human embryonic stem cell trials launched

There is much news today about two human embryonic stem cell trials that were launched on Tuesday at UC Los Angeles. That brings to three the number of ongoing human clinical trials of the cells. (The Stanford School of Medicine is a participating site in the first trial - one run by Geron, Corp to test the safety of hESC-derived cells in patients with spinal cord injury - although we haven't yet treated a patient.) Nature sums up the two new trials in this blog post today:

Now, the second and third hESC trials have been launched. On July 12, in an operating room at the University of California, Los Angeles, the first subject in each of the trials -- one for a rare form of blindness that usually begins in childhood, the other for a common cause of blindness in the elderly -- was treated with retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from hESCs. [...] One of the conditions being treated, Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, it is a degenerative disease of the retina that affects roughly 1 in 10,000 US youngsters. The other, a closely related cause of blindness, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), affects millions of Americans. (The trial therapy is attacking "dry" AMD, which account for about 90% of all AMD.)

Both of the two new trials are sponsored by Santa Monica-based Advanced Cell Technology, which announced the procedures this morning.

Previously: Stanford joins first human embryonic stem cell trial

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