When UW-Madison's James Thomson in 1998 became the first scientist to grow human embryonic stem cells in a lab, it generated tremendous excitement about the medical possibilities. Thomson tried to downplay the breakthrough but talk spread about cures for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, growing livers for cirrhosis suffers or producing healthy heart cells for cardiac patients.
The miracle cures have been slow in coming, however. Scientists can replicate healthy nerve cells in a Petri dish but haven’t found a way to replace defective spinal cells in ALS victims, for example. Read More