Koster praises FDA decision to allow stem cell trial

Chris Rizo Jan. 26, 2009, 12:01am

Chris Koster (D)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-Pointing to his father's battle with diabetes, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster praised the Food and Drug Administration's decision to allow testing using human embryonic stem cells.

"As the son of a man who battled diabetes, I believe stem cell research is an important channel to fight disease," Koster said in a statement.

Last week, the FDA gave a green light to Menlo Park, Calif.-based biotechnology company Geron Corp. to conduct the first-ever trial of embryonic stem cells on humans.

For the trial, 10 patients with spinal injuries will be injected with human embryonic stem cells to help determine if the cells can safely help nerve tissue grow. If successful, the research may lend itself to treatments for other debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

"This is a good day for Missouri and our great research institutions like the University of Missouri, Washington University and the Stowers Institute," Koster said Friday, when the Phase I clinical trial was announced. "But more importantly, it is a day of hope for all those who suffer from diseases that stem cell research might someday cure."

President Barack Obama has been widely expected to lift Bush-era restrictions on federal funding and support of human embryonic stem cell research. Former President George W. Bush opposed stem cell research, saying the technology requires the destruction of human embryos.

Observers say the FDA's announcement had nothing to do with Bush leaving office.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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