A surprising juxtaposition of the seventeenth century with classical times.
Sometime this year, ophthalmologists in the United Kingdom--where, we might recall, CT-scanners, MRI-scanners, and monoclonal antibodies were 'invented'--will inject human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into the retina of a patient suffering macular degeneration, a leading cause of near-blindness in the elderly. Currently, there are nearly 2 million people in the US with the disease, expected to grow to 3 million in just 10 years....Wow! Via Paul Abrams at The Huffington Post.
Also this year, in the United States, patients with spinal cord injuries that would destine them for lives in wheelchairs will receive an injection of hESCs into their injured spinal cords. Studies of hESCs in animal models of spinal cord injury have shown remarkable recovery of function. When the first of these human patients wiggles his toes, the prospect of fulfilling Christopher Reeve's vision of walking again will become closer to reality--unfortunately, the hypocritical radical religio-politics of the "naughts" helped delay it so that Christopher himself could not live to experience it.