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First Embryonic Stem Cell Trial Gets FDA Approval

(Short Hills, NJ) – January 23, 2009 --  Peter T. Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, issued the following statement today in response to FDA clearance of Geron’s human clinical trial of embryonic stem cell-based therapy:

“This is an exciting first step for Geron and for spinal cord injured patients whose lives may improve due to advances in medical research. There has been so much speculative and unsubstantiated information about the use of stem cells in spinal cord injury; it is important to study these cells in a rigorously designed clinical trial that is monitored by the FDA.”

Wilderotter continued, “Christopher and Dana Reeve brought national attention to this issue and they gave voice to all those who are suffering the devastating physical, emotional and financial impact of challenging neurological conditions. Their belief in the promise of stem cell research became a part of their lasting legacy.”

Shortly before his death, Christopher Reeve wrote, “It is our responsibility to do
everything possible to protect the quality of life of the present and future
generations…No obstacle should stand in the way of responsible investigation of
their [stem cells] possibilities.”

Wilderotter concluded, “This is the dawn of basic research being translated into
human clinical trials for people living with spinal cord injury. We are hopeful that what
is learned from the results will enable us to move forward with therapies for people
living with spinal cord injuries.”

Find out more about stem cells
FDA approves a stem cell trial (NY Times)
Scientist caution clinical research still at an early stage
Primer on stem cell research
Reeve Foundation's Chairman of the Board, Peter Kiernan, on Good Morning America

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Continue Christopher Reeve's LegacyPhoto by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders