From the Times Online: "scientists have developed the world's first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years' time. The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. ... The treatment will tackle age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness. ... embryonic stem cells are transformed into replicas of the missing cells. They are then placed on an artificial membrane which is inserted in the back of the retina. ... Laboratory trials completed by the British team have demonstrated that stem cells can prevent blindness in rats with a similar disease to AMD. They have also successfully tested elements of the technology in pigs. ... the treatment would take 'less than an hour, so it really could be considered as an outpatient procedure. We are trying to get it out as a common therapy.' ... The clinical trial, due within two years, is expected to be the second in the world to use embryonic stem cells on humans. The first, on patients with spinal cord injuries, will start this year in America."