this is excellent article....


Stem cells plus 10: Scientific advances, medical frustration


Embryonic stem cells, the do-anything cells that appear in the embryo a few days after fertilization, are the ancestor of every cell in your body, and so could be the basis for regenerative medicine, the quest to replace or restore defective, aging or diseased tissues.

Stem cells are defined as cells that can divide into daughter cells that are either identical copies of themselves or are more specialized, such as nerve or muscle cells. In the 10 years since James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison first grew human embryonic stem (ES) cells in the laboratory, they have fanned a hurricane of hope and hostility that found echoes in the major-party platforms:

Stem cells are defined as cells that can divide into daughter cells that are either identical copies of themselves or are more specialized, such as nerve or muscle cells. In the 10 years since James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison first grew human embryonic stem (ES) cells in the laboratory, they have fanned a hurricane of hope and hostility that found echoes in the major-party platforms:



ES cells may treat grievous conditions like diabetes, Parkinson's and spinal cord injury. This healing potential has sparked interest among patient groups, whose push for faster progress is reminiscent of the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

Or:

ES cells are ethically tainted because they require the destruction of a human embryo, the tiny ball of cells that can grow into a person. This attitude has spawned laws that restrict federal funding to research on a few lineages of ES cells, forcing researchers to wade through extra paperwork and buy duplicate equipment to do ES work. In response, some states are funding ES-cell research. California's $3-billion stem-cell initiative has transformed the scientific landscape by inducing many researchers, including Thomson, to open labs there to gain state funding.


The field of stem cells has broadened considerably since the discovery of embryonic stem cells 10 years ago. The most dramatic discovery occurred last year, when two research teams produced the poly-jargonically enhanced "induced pluripotent stem" cells. iPS cells have many similarities to ES cells, but because they do not require human eggs or embryos, they evade the political tussle and funding limits that surround ES cell research.

more...

http://whyfiles.org/288stemcell10/