Baptist Press report that adult stem cells have been used to restore the eyesight of 77% of patients who took part in a clinical trial.  All of the patients were blind because of chemical burns to their eyes and after one or two procedures, more than three quarters of them were able to see again.

This is another exciting achievement for the use of adult stem cells in treatment.  To date, adult stem cells have been successfully used to treat more than 70 different ailments.  Interestingly despite all the hype, embryonic stem cells are yet to be successful in any treatment.

Nola Leach, CARE‘s Chief Executive, writes:  ‘Human embryonic stem cell research (which involves the destruction of human embryos) has always struggled because of its failure over a long period of time to give rise to any therapies whilst morally acceptable adult stem cell research has give rise to over 70 therapies.’

In April 2008 the BBC reported that scientists have taken skin cells from patients with different diseases, such as Huntington’s and muscular dystrophy, and turned them into stem cells.  Their hope is that this research will enable them to eventually use stem cells from the patient to treat the disease.  Dr Chris Mason of the UK National Stem Cell Network writes:  ‘We’re looking at the perfect human brick – ethical, flexible and not rejected by the patient because it comes from the patient themselves.’ 

Instead of trying to force unethical embryonic stem cell research, maybe we should be concentrating on adult stem cell research – because that actually works.