Wired Magazine has a brief overview of the importance of a new paper published in Nature Biotechnology. The significance of the article centers around how coaxing stem cells to grow into specific cell types is governed not only by their immediate chemical environment but also the transient nature of that environment. So its all about the timing of what chemical signals are presented to the stem cells.

Being able to focus stem cell growth towards a specific cell type enables scientists to generate new cells to replace damaged or deficient cells of the same type. In this case, the creation of motor neurons from stem cells is a big leap towards solving spinal cord injury.

A former acquaintance Ole Isacson, a Harvard Neuroscientist, comments on the research in the report.

A good review of the state of stem cell research can be found here: Stem Cells - Hype and Hope