While prominent scientists plead with legislators to reconsider their conservative stance on funding human embryonic stem (ES) cell research, a six-year-old company in Baltimore is quietly making the matter moot. In a just-released tour-de-force research report, it is no longer quite so quiet.1

Researchers at Osiris Therapeutics and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine coaxed human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) from adults' bone marrow to develop into cartilage, fat, and bone cells, in vitro. With many millions of people suffering from cartilage injury, poorly healing fractures, heart disease, cancer, and the degenerative conditions of aging, the potential market for stem cell-based regenerative medicine is gargantuan. And the fact that the cells come from adults may neatly bury objections to using cells from embryos.2 "It won't be necessary to use ES cells if we can do therapy with adult-derived stem cells. Nor are we creating organisms, but supplying...

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