Researchers announced Monday that the first clinical trial of human stem-cell therapy has begun on a patient with a spinal cord and brain injury. Human embryonic stem cells could potentially help paralyzed people walk and restore some bodily functions.
The human trial is Phase I of the process thats main focus is testing the safety of the treatment for people. The trial will enroll 10 patients who will be injected with stem cells within 14 days of an injury suffered between the third and 10th thoracic vertebrae.
If the treatment is deemed a success under safety standers they will start testing for its effectiveness. The safety/effectiveness trial will last two years after the last patient has started the treatment.
Although this is only a minor step in the actual development as a treatment, it's a big step forward for researchers who have been stalled for years by President Bush's strict limits on stem cell research.