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   Biotech / MedicalGeron Corp.


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From: FJB10/18/2011 1:06:39 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3554
 
European court bans stem-cell patents

By Andrew Jack in London
October 18, 2011 5:56 pm
ft.com

Europe’s top court has ruled that stem cells from human embryos cannot be patented, dealing a blow to the commercial development of such treatments within the European Union and potentially driving research elsewhere.

On Tuesday the European Court of Justice upheld
the opinion of the EU’s advocate general in a long-running case originally brought by Greenpeace, the environmental watchdog, against Oliver Brüstle, a scientist investigating the use of stem cells to treat neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease.

Human embryonic stem cells are extracted from surplus in vitro fertilised eggs donated for research after fertility treatment. These cells are then modified and injected into patients for treatment.

The
legal decision, which could trigger calls for fresh legislation, means that while there are no ethical restrictions on academic embryonic stem cell research in Europe, it will be more difficult to patent and commercialise any discoveries that are made. In contrast, companies in the US can patent embryonic stem cells. President Barack Obama overturned a long-running ban, which had been in place because of ethical concerns, of federal funding for stem-cell research in 2009.

Prof Brüstle, director of the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology at Bonn University, whose 1997 patent was the object of the original legal challenge, told the Financial Times: “We are creating a no-man’s-land for intellectual property in Europe between Asia and the US. There are no incentives for European companies to operate because they don’t get protection.”

Christoph Then, of Greenpeace in Germany, which brought the case on the grounds that human life should not be patented, said: “We think it was a necessary clarification because there was no harmonisation in Europe about what should be considered a human embryo.”

The ECJ supported advocate general Yves Bot’s interpretation that – in the absence of clear EU legislation – the potential for life existed much earlier and thus that stem cells from human embryos could not be patented. The Warnock Committee’s report, a UK analysis of stem cell research, said life began 14 days after fertilisation.

Several leading researchers warned the judgment would destabilise stem-cell research across Europe. But others said it affected a relatively narrow field as most trials instead used adult stem cells.

Only two pharmaceutical companies,
Geron and ACT, are at present testing embryonic stem-cell therapies in patients. Others investigating their potential include Cellectis and Pfizer. This contrasted with the more than 2,700 trials using adult stem cells unaffected by the ruling, said Professor Chris Mason, chair of regenerative medicine bioprocessing at University College, London. “Patent lawyers have been anticipating this for a number of years. We’ll engineer around it,” he said.

Tony Peatfield, director of corporate affairs at the Medical Research Council, the UK government funding agency, which has earmarked £130m for the field over the next four years, said: “This seems to be a very disappointing conclusion. It’s likely this decision will hamper inward industry investment.”

Richard Willoughby, a partner at the law firm Rouse, said: “The upshot of the [ruling] is that it makes it quite difficult to obtain patents for therapeutics based on embryonic stem cells in the EU, something which has implications for industry and patients.”

Julian Hitchcock, a patent specialist with the law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, said: “The ruling may actually present an opportunity for researchers who in the past have complained that their work is held back by the fear of inadvertently infringing a patent.”

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From: FJB10/18/2011 3:05:48 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3554
 
Geron Presentations at the ASCO 2008 Annual Meeting

BY: ADMIN | DATE: OCTOBER 18, 2011 | CATEGORIES: BREAST CANCER

New Data on Activity of GRN163L in T-cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia Cells

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN) today announced two presentations of its anti-cancer drug, GRN163L, given at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

Geron is currently testing GRN163L in four clinical trials with 15 U.S. medical centers recruiting patients with solid tumors, chronic lymphoproliferative disease, multiple myeloma and non-small cell lung cancer. New combination trials in breast cancer and multiple myeloma at additional trial sites are scheduled to initiate in the coming months. Geron is also conducting a multi-center Phase II trial of GRNVAC1, a telomerase therapeutic vaccine, in high risk acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patients. We expect Merck & Co., Inc., under license from Geron, to initiate a therapeutic vaccine trial targeting telomerase in patients with non-small cell lung and prostate cancers.

GRN163L Exhibits Rapid and Selective Cytotoxicity in T-PLL Cells

T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL) is an aggressive lymphoproliferative disease characterized by resistance to chemotherapy, high telomerase activity and very short telomeres (Roth, et. al., Leukemia, 21:2456-2462, 2007). In a poster presentation authored by Geron scientists and collaborators from the University Hospital, Essen, Germany and the University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland, T-PLL cells from patients were selectively killed in dose-dependent fashion by seven-day incubations with GRN163L. Annexin staining confirmed a dose-dependent increase in apoptosis caused by exposure to GRN163L. Normal T-cells were unaffected by GRN163L, and a mismatch control oligonucleotide had no effect on the viability of the leukemic cells.

The results demonstrate selective cytotoxicity of GRN163L on T-PLL cells leading to rapid leukemic cell death and provide the rationale for clinical trials of GRN163L in patients with T-PLL.

Phase I Study of GRN163L in Refractory, Advanced Solid Tumors

Interim analysis of an ongoing Phase I study of GRN163L in refractory, advanced solid tumor patients was presented by Geron scientists and collaborating principal investigators from the University of Chicago and Wayne State University. Data were presented on 28 patients, each of whom had received at least one infusion of GRN163L at doses ranging from 0.4 – 4.8 mg/kg. A total of 175 doses were administered as of May 12, 2008. Patients had received up to nine prior therapies with more than half receiving four or more.

The plasma half-life was approximately three hours and Cmax appeared to be linear with dose. Dose-limiting toxicity (thrombocytopenia) was observed in one patient at the 3.2 mg/kg dose and in two patients out of 14 at the 4.8 mg/kg dose. No objective responses have been seen at these dose levels.

The maximum tolerated dose of GRN163L has not been established in this heavily pretreated patient population. Dose escalation will continue with evaluation of intermittent dosing schedules to minimize platelet effects. Measurement of hair follicle telomerase activity has been incorporated into the protocol as dose escalation continues in order to define the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationship for GRN163L in this patient population.

Geron is developing first-in-class biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases, including spinal cord injury, heart failure and diabetes. The company is advancing an anti-cancer drug and a cancer vaccine that target the enzyme telomerase through multiple clinical trials. Geron is also the world leader in the development of human embryonic stem cell-based therapeutics, with its spinal cord injury treatment anticipated to be the first product to enter clinical development. For more information, visit www.geron.com.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release regarding potential applications of Geron’s telomerase technology constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Geron’s periodic reports, including the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2008.

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To: The Ox who wrote (3312)10/19/2011 5:37:10 PM
From: FJB
1 Recommendation   of 3554
 
Geron’s Embryonic Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Spinal Cord Injury – Video


57:29 run time
youtu.be

Dr. Jane Lebkowski, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Geron Corporation, gave the keynote address for the 2011 CIRM Bridges Trainee Meeting. Last year, Geron began the first clinical trial in the world using human embryonic stem cells. CIRM recently approved a $25 million loan to Geron to assist in this trial. The embryonic stem cells used in the trial are being tested as a potential therapy for spinal cord injury. Lebkowski reviewed the work leading up to the trial and gave the latest update on its progress. Lebkowski was introduced by Art Torres, vice chair of the CIRM Governing Board, and Pat Olson, executive director of CIRM scientific activities.

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To: FJB who wrote (3319)10/20/2011 11:54:32 AM
From: Savant
1 Recommendation   of 3554
 
4 enrolled & injected..no probs>>
Geron Presents Clinical Data Update From GRNOPC1 Spinal Cord Injury Trial    MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct 20, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Geron Corporation (GERN)  today announced two presentations on the company's ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial  of its human embryonic stem cell-based therapy, GRNOPC1, in patients with spinal  cord injury. Safety data were presented at the Pre-Conference Symposia of the  joint 2011 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and American Society of  Neuro-Radiology Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. A second presentation was given at  the Working 2 Walk 2011 conference in Rockville, MD. The presentations were given  by Joseph Gold, Ph.D., Geron's Senior Director of Neurobiology and Stem Cell  Therapies and Linda Jones, P.T., M.S., Geron's Senior Clinical Trials Manager for  GRNOPC1.    "We are pleased to report that the lowest intended dose of GRNOPC1 has been  administered to four patients with complete thoracic spinal cord injuries," said  Stephen M. Kelsey, M.D., Geron's Head of Research & Development and Chief Medical  Officer. "To date, GRNOPC1 has been well tolerated with no serious adverse  events."    Phase 1 Clinical Trial Data    Data were presented on four patients with neurologically complete American Spinal  Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale grade A thoracic spinal cord injuries,  who received GRNOPC1 at a dose of two million cells delivered by injection into  the lesion site using a syringe positioning device designed by Geron. GRNOPC1 was  administered between 7 and 14 days after injury. Low-dose tacrolimus was given  for temporary immune-suppression from the time of injection for 46 days, at which  point the dose was tapered and withdrawn completely at 60 days.    Endpoints of the trial are safety and evaluation of neurological function, using  standardized testing at specified timepoints to monitor sensory and lower  extremity motor function. The trial protocol also includes multiple MRI scans.  Initial follow-up of patients is one year. One patient in the trial has completed  the Day 365 follow-up visit. The most recent patient to be enrolled in the  clinical trial has completed the Day 30 follow-up. After one year the patients  enter a period of long-term follow-up that includes annual in-person visits for  the first five years and subsequent yearly check-ups via telephone for an  additional nine years.    Safety data to date from the trial has shown:    -- No surgical complications during or after the procedures.    -- No adverse events related to the injection procedures or to GRNOPC1.    -- A few mild adverse events related to tacrolimus.    -- No evidence of cavitation in the spinal cord at the injury sites on MRI.    -- No unexpected neurological changes.    -- No evidence of immune responses to GRNOPC1.    GRNOPC1 was delivered to four spinal cord injured patients at a dose of two  million cells without complications from either the cells or the surgical  procedure itself, and without any negative effects on the spinal cord or  neurological function of the patients to date. The only side-effects observed  were due to the immunosuppressive drug tacrolimus, which is administered for the  first two months after injection of GRNOPC1. Furthermore, there is no evidence to  date of immune rejection of GRNOPC1, an allogeneic cell therapy, including after  withdrawal of immunosuppressive drug.    About GRNOPC1    GRNOPC1 contains hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that have  demonstrated remyelinating, nerve growth stimulating and angiogenic properties  leading to restoration of function in rodent models of acute spinal cord injury.  Preclinical studies have shown that administration of GRNOPC1 significantly  improved locomotor activity and kinematic scores of rodents with spinal cord  injuries when injected seven days after the injury. Histological examination of  the injured spinal cords treated with GRNOPC1 showed improved axon survival and  extensive remyelination surrounding the rodent axons. For more information about  GRNOPC1, visit geron.com. For further information about  the Phase 1 clinical trial, including location of clinical sites, visit  clinicaltrials.gov.    About Spinal Cord Injury    Spinal cord injury is caused by trauma to the spinal cord that results in a loss  of motor control, sensatory perception, bowel and bladder control, and numerous  other voluntary or involuntary body functions. A traumatic blow to the spine can  fracture or dislocate vertebrae that may cause bone fragments or disc material to  injure the nerve fibers and damage the oligodendrocyte cells that insulate the  nerve fibers in the spinal cord. Most human spinal cord injuries are contusions  (bruises) rather than lacerations to the cord. Every year approximately 12,000  people in the U.S. sustain spinal cord injuries. There are currently no approved  therapies for the treatment of spinal cord injury.    About Geron    Geron is developing first-in-class biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer  and chronic degenerative diseases. The company is advancing anti-cancer therapies  through multiple Phase 2 clinical trials in different cancers by targeting the  enzyme telomerase and with a compound designed to penetrate the blood-brain  barrier. The company is developing cell therapies from differentiated human  embryonic stem cells for a range of indications, with the first product in a  Phase 1 clinical trial for spinal cord injury. For more information, visit  geron.com.    This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the  "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release regarding potential  applications of Geron's human embryonic stem cell technologies and GRNOPC1  constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties,  including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and  commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or  regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon  collaborators and protection of our intellectual property rights. Actual results  may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking  statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our  results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in  Geron's periodic reports, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission,  including the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2011.  

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From: FJB10/20/2011 5:39:52 PM
   of 3554
 
Geron Presents Clinical Data Update From GRNOPC1 Spinal Cord Injury Trial (multi-line version<G>)

PRESS RELEASE

Oct. 20, 2011, 7:30 a.m. EDT



MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct 20, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Geron Corporation GERN -0.46% today announced two presentations on the company's ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of its human embryonic stem cell-based therapy, GRNOPC1, in patients with spinal cord injury. Safety data were presented at the Pre-Conference Symposia of the joint 2011 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and American Society of Neuro-Radiology Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. A second presentation was given at the Working 2 Walk 2011 conference in Rockville, MD. The presentations were given by Joseph Gold, Ph.D., Geron's Senior Director of Neurobiology and Stem Cell Therapies and Linda Jones, P.T., M.S., Geron's Senior Clinical Trials Manager for GRNOPC1.

"We are pleased to report that the lowest intended dose of GRNOPC1 has been administered to four patients with complete thoracic spinal cord injuries," said Stephen M. Kelsey, M.D., Geron's Head of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer. "To date, GRNOPC1 has been well tolerated with no serious adverse events."

Phase 1 Clinical Trial Data

Data were presented on four patients with neurologically complete American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale grade A thoracic spinal cord injuries, who received GRNOPC1 at a dose of two million cells delivered by injection into the lesion site using a syringe positioning device designed by Geron. GRNOPC1 was administered between 7 and 14 days after injury. Low-dose tacrolimus was given for temporary immune-suppression from the time of injection for 46 days, at which point the dose was tapered and withdrawn completely at 60 days.

Endpoints of the trial are safety and evaluation of neurological function, using standardized testing at specified timepoints to monitor sensory and lower extremity motor function. The trial protocol also includes multiple MRI scans. Initial follow-up of patients is one year. One patient in the trial has completed the Day 365 follow-up visit. The most recent patient to be enrolled in the clinical trial has completed the Day 30 follow-up. After one year the patients enter a period of long-term follow-up that includes annual in-person visits for the first five years and subsequent yearly check-ups via telephone for an additional nine years.

Safety data to date from the trial has shown:

-- No surgical complications during or after the procedures.

-- No adverse events related to the injection procedures or to GRNOPC1.

-- A few mild adverse events related to tacrolimus.

-- No evidence of cavitation in the spinal cord at the injury sites on MRI.

-- No unexpected neurological changes.

-- No evidence of immune responses to GRNOPC1.

GRNOPC1 was delivered to four spinal cord injured patients at a dose of two million cells without complications from either the cells or the surgical procedure itself, and without any negative effects on the spinal cord or neurological function of the patients to date. The only side-effects observed were due to the immunosuppressive drug tacrolimus, which is administered for the first two months after injection of GRNOPC1. Furthermore, there is no evidence to date of immune rejection of GRNOPC1, an allogeneic cell therapy, including after withdrawal of immunosuppressive drug.

About GRNOPC1

GRNOPC1 contains hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that have demonstrated remyelinating, nerve growth stimulating and angiogenic properties leading to restoration of function in rodent models of acute spinal cord injury. Preclinical studies have shown that administration of GRNOPC1 significantly improved locomotor activity and kinematic scores of rodents with spinal cord injuries when injected seven days after the injury. Histological examination of the injured spinal cords treated with GRNOPC1 showed improved axon survival and extensive remyelination surrounding the rodent axons. For more information about GRNOPC1, visit www.geron.com/GRNOPC1Trial/ . For further information about the Phase 1 clinical trial, including location of clinical sites, visit clinicaltrials.gov .

About Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury is caused by trauma to the spinal cord that results in a loss of motor control, sensatory perception, bowel and bladder control, and numerous other voluntary or involuntary body functions. A traumatic blow to the spine can fracture or dislocate vertebrae that may cause bone fragments or disc material to injure the nerve fibers and damage the oligodendrocyte cells that insulate the nerve fibers in the spinal cord. Most human spinal cord injuries are contusions (bruises) rather than lacerations to the cord. Every year approximately 12,000 people in the U.S. sustain spinal cord injuries. There are currently no approved therapies for the treatment of spinal cord injury.

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From: FJB10/25/2011 8:31:45 AM
   of 3554
 
Geron Corporation ( GERN) is a biopharmaceutical company, it develops biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases, including spinal cord injury, heart failure, and diabetes. Geron has substantial insider buying, which could signal deep value. This stock is off by over 55% so far in 2011. The current price is $2.26 with an analyst 1 year price target of $7.33, which could mean 224.34% upside potential. This potential upside is reflected not only in the analysts consensus, but also in insider buying. Geron Corp. has a market cap of $297 million and an enterprise value of $155 million, and has no profit as of yet. The operating cash flow is -$52 million and leveraged free cash flow is -$45 million. On the balance sheet, however, total cash is $152 million and no debt, which shows great potential for managing money. A good reason to look at this stock as a possible buy is the fact that a director just bought 50,000 shares, or $101,500 worth of stock at a price of $2.03 per share.

seekingalpha.com

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To: FJB who wrote (3315)10/26/2011 10:30:35 AM
From: FJB
   of 3554
 
Geron Announces Presentation At ECTRIMS/ACTRIMS

Non-Clinical Data Supports Use of GRNOPC1 in Multiple Sclerosis

October 25, 2011 07:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time
MENLO PARK, Calif.--( EON: Enhanced Online News)--Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) today announced data on the use of GRNOPC1, oligodendrocyte progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells, for myelin repair in a non-human primate model. The data supports further investigation of the potential therapeutic use of GRNOPC1 in central nervous system (CNS) disorders where the central or contributing pathology is destructive removal of myelin from nerve axons, such as observed in multiple sclerosis (MS), myelitis and spinal cord injury. GRNOPC1 is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial in patients with spinal cord injury.

“These new data confirm and extend previous results showing that GRNOPC1 can promote remyelination in rodents and non-human primates”

The new data were presented at the 5th Joint Triennial Congress of the European and Americas Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, in Amsterdam, by Prof. Jeffery D. Kocsis, Ph.D., from Yale University School of Medicine. The work was performed in collaboration with scientists at Geron.


The studies utilized a non-human primate model where demyelinated lesions, such as seen in multiple sclerosis, were induced chemically in the spinal cord. GRNOPC1 was injected into the demyelinated spinal cord lesions one week after chemical induction. The lesion sites from six monkeys were analyzed using light and electron microscopy at various timepoints up to one year after injection of GRNOPC1 to look for evidence of cell survival and remyelination of nerve axons. In the first few weeks after implantation, the injection sites contained maturing transplanted cells indicative of a premyelinating phenotype with evidence of variable numbers and degrees of remyelinated axons. By four months post implantation, GRNOPC1 had induced extensive and thick myelin around the formerly denuded axons. Human cells were detected at the lesion site, providing evidence for survival of transplanted GRNOPC1. There was no evidence of abnormal tissue, tumor formation or other pathologies associated with the injection of GRNOPC1. Neurological exams of the injected animals were normal. The data showed in the non-human primate that GRNOPC1 can survive at the lesion site and progressively promote remyelination of axons.

“These new data confirm and extend previous results showing that GRNOPC1 can promote remyelination in rodents and non-human primates,” said Jane Lebkowski, Ph.D., Geron’s Chief Scientific Officer. “These results provide further support for the potential of GRNOPC1 to provide therapeutic benefit in a number of central nervous system diseases, such as MS and myelitis.”

About GRNOPC1

Oligodendrocytes produce myelin, an insulating layer made up of protein and fatty substances that forms around nerves in the CNS to enable them to conduct electrical signals. Without myelin, many of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord cannot function properly. Oligodendrocytes are lost in CNS disorders such as spinal cord injury and MS.

GRNOPC1 contains hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that have demonstrated remyelinating, nerve growth stimulating and angiogenic properties leading to restoration of function in rodent models of acute spinal cord injury. Non-clinical studies have shown that administration of GRNOPC1 seven days after injury significantly improved locomotor activity and kinematic scores of rats with spinal cord injuries compared to untreated controls. Histological examination of the injured spinal cords treated with GRNOPC1 showed improved axon survival and extensive remyelination surrounding the rat axons. Geron is conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial to assess the safety of GRNOPC1 in patients with complete, thoracic spinal cord injuries. In addition, Geron has established collaborations with academic groups to evaluate GRNOPC1 in models of other CNS disorders. For more information about GRNOPC1, visit www.geron.com/GRNOPC1Trial/.

About Geron

Geron is developing first-in-class biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases. The company is advancing anti-cancer therapies through multiple Phase 2 clinical trials in different cancers by targeting the enzyme telomerase and with a compound designed to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The company is developing cell therapies from differentiated human embryonic stem cells, with the first product in a Phase 1 clinical trial for spinal cord injury. For more information, visit www.geron.com.

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From: Savant11/3/2011 2:09:44 AM
   of 3554
 
Wondering if Geron's TA-65 might have some interplay with this...

Wrinkles And Signs Of Aging Delayed Or Prevented, Animal Study Editor's Choice
Academic Journal
Main Category: Seniors / Aging
Also Included In: Genetics
Article Date: 02 Nov 2011 - 14:00 PDT

The onset of ageing and age-related disorders may be delayed and even prevented completely, researchers from the Mayo Clinic wrote in the journal Nature. The scientists managed to delay and prevent the onset of muscle wasting, cataracts, and even wrinkles in an animal study carried out on mice by eliminating cells that build up with age - the scientists call them deadbeat cells or senescent cells.

The authors say this study is the first to show that deadbeat cells contribute to the ageing process. They added that they may have found a way of keeping people healthier as they get older.

Co-author James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., said:

"By attacking these cells and what they produce, one day we may be able to break the link between aging mechanisms and predisposition to diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancers and dementia. There is potential for a fundamental change in the way we provide treatment for chronic diseases in older people."

Scientists found out about fifty years ago that cells only divide a certain number of times before the division stops altogether, at which point they reach cellular senescence - a state of limbo in which they are still alive, but do not continue multiplying. These deadbeat cells produce factors that harm the cells next to them, causing tissue inflammation.

Initially, these dysfunctional cells are regularly swept out by the body's immune system. However, after some time these senescent cells start to accumulate because the immune system becomes less efficient at getting rid of them. This happens as we get older

Scientists have speculated that these cells cause age-related diseases, but nobody has been sure. Only between 10% to 15% of an elderly individuals cells are made up of senescent cells, making it harder to determine how important their role in the ageing process might be.

Senior author Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., said:

"Our discovery demonstrates that in our body cells are accumulating that cause these age-related disorders and discomforts. Therapeutic interventions to get rid of senescent cells or block their effects may represent an avenue to make us feel more vital, healthier, and allow us to stay independent for a much longer time."

Felipe Sierra, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Aging Biology, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, said:

"Through their novel methodology, the research team found that deletion of senescent cells in genetically engineered mice led to improvement in at least some aspects of the physiology of these animals. So, with the caveat that the study involved a mouse model displaying accelerated aging, this paper provides important insights on aging at the cellular level." What the scientists did Dr. van Deursen and team genetically engineered their laboratory mice so that their senescent cells carried caspase 8 - a molecule that is only turned on when the mice are given a drug that has no effect on normal cells. When they gave the mice the drug, caspase 8 became activated within the senescent cells, drilled holes in the membranes of those cells, effectively killing them.

They found that when the senescent cells were eliminated, the onset of age-related disorders, such as weakness, muscle loss, cataracts, etc., was delayed. Interestingly, when these cells were removed in the much older mice, the progression of age-related disorders that had been well underway was significantly slowed.

The scientists believe senescent cells play a role in the aging process. They also think that these cells secrete chemicals that contribute to disease and age-related tissue dysfunction.


Top Picture: Primary MEFs (mouse embryonic fibroblast cells) before senescence. They are spindle-shaped.
Bottom Picture: Example of cellular senescence. Cells become bigger, flatter shaped. They also express ß-galactosidase (SABG, blue areas), a marker of cellular senescence.


The authors concluded in an Abstract in the journal:
"These data indicate that cellular senescence is causally implicated in generating age-related phenotypes and that removal of senescent cells can prevent or delay tissue dysfunction and extend healthspan."
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/237023.php

%donpat

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From: Savant11/4/2011 12:25:51 PM
   of 3554
 
Geron Corporation Reports 2011 Third Quarter Financial Results and Events

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov 03, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Geron Corporation (GERN)
today reported financial results for the three and nine months ended September
30, 2011.

For the third quarter of 2011, the company reported a net loss of $19.5 million,
or $0.16 per share, compared to $18.3 million, or $0.19 per share, for the
comparable 2010 period. Net loss for the first nine months of 2011 was $65.0
million, or $0.52 per share, compared to $52.0 million, or $0.54 per share, for
the comparable 2010 period. The company ended the quarter with $180.8 million in
cash and investments.

Revenues for the third quarter of 2011 were $220,000, compared to $546,000 for
the comparable 2010 period. Revenues for the first nine months of 2011 were $2.2
million, compared to $2.5 million for the comparable 2010 period. Revenues for
the third quarter and year-to-date periods of 2011 and 2010 included funding from
collaboration agreements and royalty and license fee revenues under various
agreements.

Interest and other income for the third quarter of 2011 amounted to $237,000,
compared to $223,000 for the comparable 2010 period. Interest and other income
for the first nine months of 2011 was $820,000, compared to $619,000 for the
comparable 2010 period which reflects the increase in cash and investment
balances. The company has not incurred any impairment charges on its marketable
debt securities portfolio.

Total operating expenses for the third quarter of 2011 were $20.2 million,
compared to $18.7 million for the comparable 2010 period. Research and
development expenses for the third quarter of 2011 were $16.3 million, compared
to $13.7 million for the comparable 2010 period. General and administrative
expenses for the third quarter of 2011 were $3.8 million, compared to $5.0
million for the comparable 2010 period.

Total operating expenses for the first nine months of 2011 were $67.9 million,
compared to $54.0 million for the comparable 2010 period. Research and
development expenses for the first nine months of 2011 were $49.6 million,
compared to $40.7 million for the comparable 2010 period. General and
administrative expenses for the first nine months of 2011 were $18.3 million,
compared to $13.4 million for the comparable 2010 period.

Research and development expenses increased for the three and nine month periods
ending September 30, 2011, compared to the same periods in 2010, as a result of
higher clinical drug product purchases, increased clinical trial expenses related
to the enrollment of four oncology Phase 2 clinical trials of imetelstat and the
Phase 1 clinical trial for GRNOPC1 in patients with spinal cord injury and
start-up activities for two oncology Phase 2 clinical trials for GRN1005. The
company expects research and development expenses to increase in the future with
the initiation of the GRN1005 Phase 2 clinical trials in patients with brain
metastases and ongoing support of the imetelstat Phase 2 trials and the GRNOPC1
Phase 1 trial. The variations in general and administrative expenses for the
three and nine month periods ending September 30, 2011, compared to the same
periods in 2010, primarily reflected differences in non-cash stock-based
compensation expense recognized during the respective periods.

Third Quarter 2011 Highlights:

* Geron received its first disbursement under the Targeted Clinical Development
Award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. In May 2011, CIRM
awarded $25.0 million to Geron to support the clinical development of GRNOPC1,
currently in a Phase 1 trial in patients with spinal cord injury. CIRM funding
will provide matching support in the form of a product-backed loan for clinical
trial costs, non-clinical studies, analytical development and the manufacture of
cells for clinical trials.

* The Stanford University and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center enrolled the
first Californian -- and fourth person overall -- in Geron's GRNOPC1 Phase 1
trial in patients with spinal cord injury. To date, GRNOPC1 has been well
tolerated with no serious adverse events.

* John A. Scarlett, M.D., was appointed as Geron's Chief Executive Officer and a
member of the board of directors. Dr. Scarlett brings over 25 years of executive
leadership experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to Geron.

Conference Call

At 6:00 a.m. PDT / 9:00 a.m. EDT on Friday, November 4, John A. Scarlett, M.D.,
Geron's chief executive officer, and David L. Greenwood, Geron's president and
chief financial officer, will host a conference call to discuss the company's
third quarter and year-to-date results.

Participants can access the conference call via telephone by dialing 800-706-7748
(U.S.) or 617-614-3473 (international). The passcode is 53572623. A live
audio-only Webcast is also available through a link that is posted on the Events
page in the Investors section of Geron's Website at geron.com. The
audio Web broadcast of the conference call will be available for replay until
December 5, 2011.

About Geron

Geron is developing first-in-class biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer
and chronic degenerative diseases. The company is advancing anti-cancer therapies
through multiple Phase 2 clinical trials in different cancers by targeting the
enzyme telomerase and with a compound designed to penetrate the blood-brain
barrier (BBB). The company is developing cell therapies from differentiated human
embryonic stem cells, with the first product in a Phase 1 clinical trial for
spinal cord injury. For more information, visit geron.com.

Use of Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the
"safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release regarding potential
applications of Geron's telomerase, oncology, and human embryonic stem cell
technologies, including plans and expectations for future clinical development
and future operating results and expenditures, constitute forward-looking
statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation,
risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products,
the uncertainty and preliminary nature of clinical trial results or regulatory
approvals or clearances, need to raise additional capital, dependence upon
collaborators and protection of our intellectual property rights. Actual results
may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking
statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our
results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in
Geron's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
including Geron's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September
30, 2011. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements,
which speak only as of the date they are made, and, except as required by law,
Geron disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to
reflect future events or circumstances.

Financial table follows.

GERON CORPORATION
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(UNAUDITED)
THREE MONTHS ENDEDNINE MONTHS ENDED
SEPTEMBER 30,SEPTEMBER 30,
(In thousands, except share and2011201020112010
per share data)
------------------------------------------
Revenues from collaborative agreements$--$203$300$653
License fees and royalties2203431,8871,812
------------------------------------------
Total revenues2205462,1872,465
Operating expenses:
Research and development16,34513,72849,64440,662
General and administrative3,8115,02118,25113,359
------------------------------------------
Total operating expenses20,15618,74967,89554,021
------------------------------------------
Loss from operations(19,936)(18,203)(65,708)(51,556)
Unrealized gain (loss) on derivatives, net291(97)570133
Interest and other income237223820619
Losses recognized under equity method investment--(243)(503)(1,135)
Interest and other expense(114)(24)(178)(76)
----------- ------------ ------------- ------------ --
Net loss$(19,522)$(18,344)$(64,999)$(52,015)
== =========== ==== ========== ==== =========== ==== ========== ==
Basic and diluted net loss per share$(0.16)$(0.19)$(0.52)$(0.54)
== =========== ==== ========== ==== =========== ==== ========== ==
Shares used in computing basic and diluted net loss per share125,101,17797,476,668124,259,69896,400,276
== =========== ==== ========== ==== =========== ==== ========== ==

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
SEPTEMBER 30,DECEMBER 31,
(In thousands)20112010
--------------
(Unaudited)(Note 1)
Current assets:
Cash, restricted cash and cash equivalents$34,768$46,764
Current marketable securities108,127140,599
Other current assets4,4097,654
--------------
Total current assets147,304195,017
Noncurrent marketable securities37,92133,911
Property and equipment, net2,2473,088
Deposits and other assets9321,568
--------------
$ 188,404$ 233,584
====== ============= =======
Current liabilities$10,003$40,849
Noncurrent liabilities3,194--
Stockholders' equity175,207192,735
--------------
$ 188,404$ 233,584
====== ============= =======

Note 1: Derived from audited financial statements included in the company's
Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010.

SOURCE: Geron Corporation

Geron Corporation
Anna Krassowska, Ph.D., 650-473-7765
Investor and Media Relations
info@geron.com

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From: Savant11/14/2011 12:00:52 PM
   of 3554
 
RT..

Ground breaking studies out of Japan earlier this month showed the vast reach of
stem cell medicine. A research team at Japan's RIKEN Center for Developmental
Biology successfully used stem cells to synthesize a fully functioning organ
entirely from scratch. The team somehow managed to take mouse stem cells and
transformed them into a working pituitary gland, which is a small organ that
lives at the base of your brain and produces hormones that help you grow.

The Bedford Report

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