The latest news in stem cell research is very encouraging both on a scientific and an ethical level. Scientists in Japan have recently found a procedure they believe will give adult cells the kind of pluripotent ability possible in embryonic stem cells. In other words, scientists (including Ian Wilmut of Dolly fame) believe they have found a way to benefit from the potential of embryonic stem cell while avoiding all the ethical concerns.
What is most encouraging to me in this article and in others I have perused is the sense that the scientific community seems poised to embrace this development with a significant amount of gusto. For all the years while adult stem cells have been successfully applied and embryonic stem cells have failed, all the press and money have gone for the embryonic stem cell research.
More ethical issues lurk around the corner, however. According to the article, this breakthrough puts us one step closer to human cloning. In fact, according to a recent U.N. study, we might only be 20-30 years away from living, breathing, lab-created human clones.
There is still a lot of ethical work to be done!