Geron Corp. (NASDAQ:GERN) is trading up in pre-market activity on news that would have been much more eagerly received back in the emergence of stem cell news. Geron announced that data shows its human embryonic stem cell based therapeutic candidate for spinal cord injury GRNOPC1 survives and exhibits durable and robust human remyelination in spinal cord-injured rats. The duration was for at least nine months following a single injection.
This data is being presented at the Society for Neurosciences Annual Meeting in San Diego, the data also demonstrate that GRNOPC1 does not amplify neuropathic pain or the reaction to painful stimuli. Surprisingly, other similar research has shown that other cell types injected in the spinal cord amplify neuropathic pain, and that has been a complication of human spinal cord injury.
GRNOPC1 is an allogeneic population of cells that contain oligodendroglial progenitors ultimately intended for transplant into the lesion site of patients with spinal cord injury to induce tissue repair. Geron’s development plan for GRNOPC1 calls for the filing of an Investigational New Drug Application with the FDA and ultimately an initiation of human clinical trials in 2008.
It doesn’t sound like this is a pure cure for paralyzation or spinal cord injury yet, but this is hopefully one more step to a major medical issue that has been to date untreatable. Geron shares are up 2.5% at $7.30 in pre-market trading, and the 52-week trading range is $5.67 to $10.00. Back in the early 2000′s, this is the sort of news that would have had a stem cell stock up double-digit percentages.
Jon C. Ogg
November 7, 2007