Japanese Researchers Begin to Pull Ahead

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the soon-to-thankfully-end Bush administration, the United States is beginning to fall behind in science and technology. One example to this effect is the recent advancements made by the well-funded research of Japanese scientists.

TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese researchers said Thursday they had created functioning human brain tissues from stem cells, a world first that has raised new hopes for the treatment of disease.

Stem cells taken from human embryos have been used to form tissues of the cerebral cortex, the supreme control tower of the brain, according to researchers at the government-backed research institute Riken.

The tissues self-organised into four distinct zones very similar to the structure seen in human foetuses, and conducted neuro-activity such as transmitting electrical signals, the institute said.

Research on stem cells is seen as having the potential to save lives by helping to find cures for diseases such as cancer and diabetes or to replace damaged cells, tissues and organs.

The team’s previous studies showed stem cells differentiated into distinct cells but until now they had never organised into functioning tissues.

Let’s hope an Obama administration can finally give the scientific community the true support it has been needing for the past 8 anti-science years.