Embryonic cells may indeed be used someday to grow replacement tissue or therapeutic material for diseases like Parkinson's or diabetes. Just on Friday, a biotech company said it was going ahead with an initial safety study in spinal cord injury patients. Another is planning an initial study in eye disease patients later this year.What?!?! John Edwards told me the paralyzed would walk if John Kerry was elected in 2004. Six years later and we're still talking about some distant hypothetical day in future? Did Democrats really spend all that time and effort attacking those cruel anti-science, anti-cure Republicans for "lab tools"?
But in the near term, embryonic stem cells are more likely to pay off as lab tools, for learning about the roots of disease and screening potential drugs.....
Some of the new approaches, like the long-proven treatments, are based on the idea that stem cells can turn into other cells. Einhorn said the ankle-repair technique, for example, apparently works because of cells that turn into bone and blood vessels. But for other uses, scientists say they're harnessing the apparent abilities of adult stem cells to stimulate tissue repair, or to suppress the immune system.The article goes on to list the various ailments adult stem cells are being used to treat including multiple sclerosis, heart issues, type 1 diabetes, and cancers.
"That gives adult stem cells really a very interesting and potent quality that embryonic stem cells don't have," says Rocky Tuan of the University of Pittsburgh.