In DepthClinical Trials

Failed spinal cord trial offers cautionary tale

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  17 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6326, pp. 679
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6326.679

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Eight months after cell therapy company StemCells Inc. announced the failure of its closely watched clinical trial for spinal cord injury, some of the company's longtime academic collaborators have come forward with disheartening animal data—and an admonition for future trials. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found no benefit to the company's human neural stem cell product, derived from fetal tissue, in mice with damage to the upper spine. In a paper published this week in Stem Cell Reports, they caution that the large-scale clinical manufacturing of cell lines—a process often guarded as a trade secret—can change stem cells in unpredictable ways, and they argue for more thorough animal testing on the exact cell lines destined for patients.