US: A rebirth in stem cell research

More than a decade after the discovery of human embryonic stem cells, Texas scientists are poised to finally ramp up research involving the cutting-edge but controversial science, writes Todd Ackerman in the Houston Chronicle. With President Barack Obama expected to lift federal restrictions on the field, scientists have expressed their delight and predicted a long-awaited scientific renaissance will follow.

"Opening up the research is going to have an enormous benefit," said Bill Brinkley, a Baylor College of Medicine professor of molecular and cellular biology. "After being diminished and pushed to the side for a decade, embryonic stem cell research will become mainstream - most every lab will take advantage of it."

In the minds of many, stem cell research promises nothing less than the future of medicine, youthful tissue replacing that which is old or damaged. From animal studies, scientists tout research suggesting stem cells can replace brain cells lost in Parkinson's disease, restore function to defective muscles in muscular dystrophy and regenerate parts of the pancreas that don't work in diabetes. The question is, how quickly can scientists turn the promise into reality?
Full report on the Houston Chronicle site