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GEN’s editor in chief, John Sterling, interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Geron recently received FDA permission to begin the first U.S. clinical trial of an embryonic stem cell (ESC) product, GRNOPC1, in patients with acute spinal cord injury. This came right after a British company, ReNeuron, won regulatory approval from U.K. authorities to initiate a clinical trial with gene-modified neural stem cells for the treatment of stroke.

In this week's podcast Linda Powers from Toucan Capital, which has 16 stem cell or regenerative medicine companies in its portfolio, talks about the impact of these two developments on this fast growing field. She specifically addresses the issue of how the FDA's decision might boost the development of stem cell therapies and speculates on what may have influenced the agency's decision to give Geron the go-ahead for a trial at this time.

Powers also discusses why all the attention on human embryonic stem cell research has given short shrift to work with human adult stem cells and provides specific examples of the successful application of adult stem cells to treat human diseases. Powers describes what's needed from the financial, political, regulatory, and public acceptance arenas to make stem cell and regenerative medicine part of an expanded armentarium of therapeutic approaches in applied and clinical medicine. She also explains why the establishment of a biomanufacturing industry for the production and processing of stem cells and other living cells could give rise to a new and significant business segment of the American economy.

Linda Powers is the Cofounder and Managing Director of Toucan Capital, which has 16 stem cell or regenerative medicine companies in its portfolio.

Readers' Comments

Posted 12/11/2011 by Lester J. Savit

A recent federal court ruling foreshadows an effective patent strategy for protecting innovative stem cell therapies and biologics. See

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