Top health stories of 2007

Stem cell advances. In what is seen as a major advance for regenerative medicine, scientists say they have created embryonic stem cells – without having to destroy an embryo to do it. This advancement could alleviate many of the ethical objections that have long plagued the research.

Stem cells, which have the potential to develop into many different cell types, could theoretically act as a sort of repair system for ailing and aging bodies. Embryonic stem cells can give rise to all types of tissue and could be used, for example, for transplant therapies in people who are paralyzed or have disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

The new technique, while thought to be an impressive leap forward in stem cell research, still has significant hurdles – primarily that it could cause cancer in patients receiving the therapy. But researchers say they think that in time this risk can be eliminated. (Read the full article.)

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