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Sci Tech    H4'ed 11/22/09

Advanced Cell Technology asks approval to treat blindness with stem cells

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>>>>Company seeks to test eye cells derived from stem cells

>>>> If approved, could be first human trial of such cells

Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC.OB) a small Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, said on Thursday it has asked for approval to test human embryonic stem cells in treating a rare cause of blindness.

The company said it filed an IND, an investigational new drug application, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use the stem cells to treat patients with Stargardt's macular dystrophy.

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If approved, it would be the second U.S. approval to test human embryonic stem cells in human patients.

Geron Inc won approval in January to test human embryonic stem cells to treat paraplegic patients who can use their upper bodies but cannot walk. That trial is on hold while the company and FDA check on some side-effects seen in animals.

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