A decade ago the journal Science reported Dr. James Thomson's team at UW-Madison had discovered embryonic stem cell lines which can regenerate tissues and organs inside the body. Much of the technology has not yet reached patients but Ed Fallon of Wisconsin Stem Cell Now is optimistic. The non-profit president believes the coming years will bring advancements in cellular biology and researchers will better develop understanding as to how cells develop.
"In particular in the near future we're going to see some breakthroughs in pharmaceuticals and drug therapies," says Fallon.
The science has not been controversy free. Fallon says social opposition to the research is waning as shown in Tuesday's election. On a Colorado ballot initiative, 75% percent of voters disagreed with defining a blastocyst as a person.
With a poor economy and government deficits, Fallon says the biggest challenge is find ways to pay for research either with taxes or private money.