Q&A: Stem cell study enters new era

Second, cells can be cultured to screen for their response to drugs designed to address these defects, speeding pharmaceutical discoveries.

Third, an era of "regenerative medicine," in which patients get immune-system-friendly transplant organs might spring from stem cells. Geron Corp. in January received Food and Drug Administration clearance to begin testing of nerve stem cell injections of patients with spinal cord injuries.

Q: What's behind the scientific integrity memorandum?

A: The Bush administration was accused in a number of highly publicized cases of interfering with actions by federal agencies in such areas as global warming and endangered species. The Obama memorandum echoes a 2008 Union of Concerned Scientists call for transparency in how federal agencies make science decisions and for insulation from political interference.

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