from the progress-and-paranoia dept.
Pointing up some of the reasons why many researchers are excited about the prospect of using embryonic stem cells to produce different types of tissues — such as heart tissue to repair damaged hearts — two teams of scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Israel have produced tissue cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.
One team of researchers has for the first time succeeded in growing precursors of heart cells from human embryonic stems cells, puting the researchers considerably closer to clinical application in humans. Their report appears in the August 2001 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. In a second study, another team demonstrated that human embryonic stem cells can produce insulin, a result that could signal an important step toward a cure for type 1 diabetes. Their research was published in the August 2001 issue of Diabetes.
Additional coverage can be found in this article from United Press International.
An interesting editorial commentary appeared in the Los Angeles Times on 29 July 2001: "Science is far ahead of the public debate, and scientists need to educate the public about what they are doing. Otherwise the public debate will be fueled by fear."