A 37-year-old South Korean woman who had been paralyzed from the waist down for 19 years is now walking. How? They implanted stem cells into her spine, and they were able to take over for the no-longer-working cells that were failing to do their job. They'd previously tried by injecting stem cells into the spinal fluid, but it didn't work. This did.
So does this vindicate the Kerry-Edwards proposal to expand government funding for embryonic stem cell research, which California has already now done with their own state funding? Well, look at the fine print. It turns out this wasn't from embryonic stem cells at all. These are cord blood stem cells. The only people who will have moral objections to using those are Jehovah's Witnesses, who think taking something from someone else's blood into your own goes against the Torah command not to eat blood (I wonder if they eat kosher, because to be consistent they need to). This is actually an important discovery for the pro-life argument against needing embryonic stem cells for this kind of thing. There's still greater potential for embryonic cells if the overcome the biggest obstacle to using them at all, which there's been no progress on, but cord blood stem cells do in fact work for this sort of thing, so I don't know how embryonic stem cell advocates can see this as anything more than a mixed result for them.
Incidentally, I tried to see if the major news outlets were covering this. A Google search turned up a Korean paper, another paper excerpting the Korean paper and then linking to the rest of it, and some irrelevant stuff. I didn't go very far in, but that's bad news. Then I tried CNN. I searched for Korea "stem cell" and Korea "stem cells". They have nothing on it. A search of the Foxnews site led to a link to Yahoo story I linked above but nothing else. I couldn't find anything at ABC, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Los Angeles Times. I hope they're not deliberately not burying such an important story.
The CBS news website just has a video of one of their broadcasts but no text story. Along with this story, they show the results of a similar operation in China that involved stem cells from an aborted fetus, and in that case it restored feeling to someone's legs but nothing else yet. I got the sense that the point of the CBS clip was to show how restrictive (their word) U.S. policy is, but nothing in any U.S. policy prevents the operation that took place in Korea, and if they had used stem cells that weren't acquired via an abortion, the other one wouldn't have been either (use of embryonic cells is legal, just not government-funded except in CA). It's just that there aren't doctors doing that research here yet, at least not at that level.