Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Embryonic Stem Cells To Restore Vision

New research out of Japan, where stem cell science has not languished under religiously and politically motivated bans, such as that imposed for eight years by former president George W. Bush, suggests that human EMBRYONIC stem cells can be vital for helping to restore sight.  Researchers successfully coaxed these embryonic cells to produce a component of the eye called the "optic cup" which is the portion of the eye, including the retina, which senses light and allows us to see.  It is suggested that this lab-grown material might be transplanted, at some point, into the eyes of patients to help restore their vision.  Perhaps if Bush had not effectively banned embryonic stem cell research in the US for almost a decade then this research would be coming from the US, rather than Japan.  With eight additional years of research it might even have reached the stage where it was out of the lab and helping people to see right now.  Unfortunately, in a very literal sense, religious extremists have a blind spot, when it comes to technologies like this, and would rather keep people in permanent darkness, than allow them to see the light. 

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