Stem Cells: The Hope And The Hype

The debate is so politically loaded that it's tough to tell who's being straight about the real areas of progress and how breakthroughs can be achieved. TIME sorts it out

When there's nothing else to prescribe, hope works like a drug. A quadriplegic patient tells herself it's not a matter of if they find a cure but when. Who's to say whether salvation is still 10 or 15 years away? After all, researchers have been injecting stem cells into paralyzed rats and watching their spinal cords mend. "Stem cells have already cured paralysis in animals," declared Christopher Reeve in a commercial he filmed a week before he died.

But what is the correct dose of hope when the diseases are dreadful and the prospects of cure distant? Last month, when President...

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