FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stem Cells Regenerate Damaged Spinal Cords in Rats

Researchers have been able to use embryonic stem cells to regenerate spinal cords of recently-injured rats, allowing them to walk again.

The study, conducted by Dr. Hans Keirstead of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California Irvine, was recently published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neuroscience.

As promising as the research is, however, it contains one critical caveat. The treatments have only worked on subjects with recent injuries. Therefore, when human trials begin, only patients with new injuries will be considered.

Reaction from the disabled community ranges from cautious optimism to disappointment that the research can't help those with chronic injuries. One suspects that pro-lifers and the PETA folks won't be thrilled with it either.

Sources: Wired, AiKnowledge