The National Institutes of Health indicates that approximately 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack each year, and together cardiovascular diseases and cancers are the top two causes of death according to the CDC, with each killing over half a million Americans each year. Regenerative medicine holds the promise of new ways to repair cardiovascular damage and of improved cancer treatment. Moreover, there are many other diseases and afflictions that stand to be positively impacted by stem cell research including: stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes (respectively 3, 4 and 7 on the CDC list of causes of death), neurological disorders, spinal cord injuries, and some birth defects. Potential benefits of stem cell research are numerous and range from development and testing of new drugs to cell-based therapies in which stem cells are used to replace ailing or destroyed tissue or cells. However, there are many technical hurdles between the promise of stem cells and the realization of these uses, which will only be overcome by continued intensive stem cell research.
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