(From Reuters). A team from Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) have successfully coaxed embryonic stem cells into forming retinal cells. "We believe these new retinal cells could be used to treat blindness and may, in fact, be the one of the very first applications of embryonic stem-cell technology." Degenerative blindness is a fairly common age-related condition, and a number of research projects worldwide are aimed at curing specific root causes. I recently noted an effort using adult stem cells to treat retinitis pigmentosa, for example. ACT is a good example of a private company that has suffered serious funding issues and setbacks due to the threatened therapeutic cloning ban.