San Jose-based Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) is one of six centers nationwide participating in the clinical trials involving the use of stem cells. The study is part of Fremont-based Asterias Biotherapeutics efforts to use embryonic stem cells to develop treatments that might help restore movement and function in individuals with spinal cord injury.
This past summer, San Ramon Valley High School student, Jake Javier, suffered a high level spinal cord injury as a result of a diving accident. Jake became the first patient to enroll in this study. You can read more about his story here.
Jake Javier and his mother, Isabelle
After Geron's abrupt abandonment of its stem cell study back in November of 2011 dealt a significant blow to such efforts at SCVMC, Asterias eventually purchased Geron's research program and assets in October of 2013 and it is now working with its six medical center partners to enroll more participants in what is considered Phase 1/2a stage of the trial.
Voter-passed California Institute for Regenerative Medicine' has thus far funded many studies supported by nearly $60 million. You can read more about their grants here.
As expected, it is far too early to come to any conclusions about the effectiveness of this particular study as many more participants need to be enrolled but rehab researchers at SCVMC are thrilled to once again be participants in cutting edge studies to find an eventual cure to paralysis.