Scientists achieve breakthrough in stem cell research

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Stem cell research recently took a major step forward as scientists succeeded in turning human skin cells into cells closely resembling embryonic stem cells.

Two separate teams - one in Japan and the other in Wisconsin - reprogrammed ordinary human skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells. The accomplishment will allow scientists to move away from the use of human eggs or embryos for stem cell research. The use of embryonic stem cells has stirred political debate because it involves destroying viable cells.

Many believe stem cell research holds the key to curing diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.