In early 2009, President Obama overturned the ban on federal funding for research involving the derivation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved Geron’s first-in-human hESC trial for spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. We anticipate an increase in both research in the United States to derive hESC and applications to the FDA for approval of clinical trials involving transplantation of hESCs. An increase of such clinical trials will require a concomitant increase in the number of preceding preclinical assays. We examine important issues concerning the use of animals in SCI stem cell research that require a reevaluation of the moral permissibility of studies such as Geron’s.

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