While the ethical and political debates rage over stem cells from human embryos, scientists continue to discover how those cells work and what they can do.
About 2 weeks before President Bush made his decision to fund certain kinds of stem cell research (SN: 8/18/01, p. 105), investigators from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported at a meeting that injections of human embryonic stem cells restored some mobility to paralyzed rodents. The damage to the spinal cord, which the researchers cause by injecting a virus into the animals, mimics amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Although the research has not been published in a scientific journal, several lawmakers on Capitol Hill viewed videotape of once-paralyzed rodents walking after the treatment. Congress is now considering how to regulate stem cell research.