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From National Institutes of Health website:

Have human embryonic stem cells been used successfully to treat any human diseases yet?
Scientists have only been able to do experiments with human embryonic stem cells (hESC) since 1998, when a group led by Dr. James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin developed a technique to isolate and grow the cells. Moreover, federal funds to support hESC research have been available since August 9, 2001, when President Bush announced his decision on federal funding for hESC research. Because many academic researchers rely on federal funds to support their laboratories, they are just beginning to learn how to grow and use the cells. Thus, although hESC [may someday] offer potential cures and therapies for many devastating diseases, research using them is still in its early stages.

Adult stem cells such as blood-forming stem cells in bone marrow (called hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs) are currently the type of stem cell commonly used to treat human diseases.

Doctors have been transferring HSCs in bone marrow transplants for over 40 years.

More advanced techniques of collecting, or "harvesting", HSCs are now used in order to treat leukemia, lymphoma and several inherited blood disorders.

The clinical potential of adult stem cells has also been demonstrated in the treatment of other human diseases that include diabetes and advanced kidney cancer. [NIH]


Adult stem cells (non-embryonic) are stem cells harvested from the human body of an adult or child; they are not harvested by destroying a human embryo, as happens in embryonic stem cell research.

Adult stem cells, placental cells, and umbilical cord stem cells are non-embryonic stem cells.

Presently, these non-embryonic stem cells have provided successful human treatments for over 70 human diseases/conditions. Visit  for updates.

Research/Disease   Actual FY 2003 Actl FY 2004  Actl FY 2005  EstFY 2006  EstFY 2007
(Dollars in millions
& rounded)
Stem Cell Research (SCR)               517                  553            609             609                608 
SCR — Human Embryonic                  20                    24              40             38                 39 
SCR – Non-Human Embryonic           113                    89              97             97                 96 
SCR – Human Non-Embryonic           191                   203           199            200                 200 
SCR – Non- Human, Non-Embryonic   192                   236          273             274                 273

[, “Estimates of Funding for Various Diseases, Conditions, Research Areas (Table updated March 10, 2006)”; This table displays funding levels for various diseases, conditions, and research areas, based on actual grants, contracts, research conducted at NIH, and other mechanisms of support in FY 2003 through FY 2005. The FY 2006 and FY 2007 figures are estimates, and are based on the FY 2005 levels, and the FY2006 enacted level, and the FY 2007 Budget. Important Notes: The current year (FY 2006) and budget year (FY 2007) dollar amounts provided represents NIH best estimate on what will be funded for the categories. The figures provided are not allocated or set aside for these categories. The table is not additive. Funding included in one area may also be included in other areas. For example, Clinical Research includes Clinical Trials.]