Stem cell research advances

Whatever the political climate, embryonic stem cell research has weathered a tough year and come out on top. Biotechnology is a global business, and what can't be done in one house can easily move next door. Australia has opened up while Singapore, the U.K. and other countries are doing all they can to make researchers in the field feel welcome. South Korea had its international hoax, but other scientists in the field are quickly advancing there as well. In the U.S., though, fresh funds are being made available in some states. And private donors have come in with millions more to lift the long-delayed California program off the ground.

As the scientific evidence of efficacy grows, so will the demand to fund new research programs. The potential benefits are extraordinary, and many patients--including some well known celebrities--are well aware that their best hopes for a cure lie in this field. But while embryonic stem cell research advances, let's not forget the promise of adult stem cell work as well. New research is pointing to some very versatile types of adult stem cells. And research in cardiology will be putting some of the theories to a human test in the year ahead.