A lot of column inches are being given to stem cells at the moment. I was going to write a round-up, but - as is often the case in such matters - important points are getting lost in an endless sea of details, sidebars, and analysis of analysis. If political and economic maneuvering gets us to working regenerative medicine sooner, wonderful (I'm dubious, needless to say). If satire does a better job, I'm all for it. But it does sometimes look to me as though we live in the midst of a postmodernist discussion; commentary on reality becoming more important than reality itself.
This isn't about scoring points from other pundits, political advantage, or economics. It's about taking one of the first big steps towards enabling us all to live far longer, healthier lives. It's about a clear, obvious, and comparatively short road to curing all age-related degenerative conditions. Coupled with better and more effective cancer therapies, stem cell based regenerative medicine could give us additional healthy, active decades: the damage of aging repaired, one organ at a time. That would give us all time enough to figure out the next big step.
I can't help but feel that if it takes a decade of fighting (and thus a decade of minimal research) to allow each new medical technology to move forward, we're not going to be able to make radical life extension available in time for those of reading this now. We need a better modus operandi for medical progress than the one we're stuck with today.