A brief history of stem cell research

stem cell therapy

From early fetal tissue research to the first successful human treatments, this timeline documents the progress in stem cell science, and the policies that have impeded or promoted it.

The stories of research involving human embryonic stem cells and the policy governing that work are intertwined and stretch back into the mid-1970s. Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, discussions began about how to conduct ethical research on human fetal tissue. Since that time, scientists have made great strides—most notable the isolation of human embryonic stem cells.

Conservative and progressive presidents alike have curtailed federal funding for research for ethical reasons. The position taken by President Bush both limited advances in regenerative medicine and ignored ethical guidelines. And since 2009, the Obama administration has conducted a meticulous and thorough analysis of the ethical issues inherent to human embryonic stem cell research, resulting in many lines being opened back up for research and new federal funding flowing.

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