Adult stem cell research far ahead of embryonic

A few months ago, Dr. Thomas Einhorn was treating a patient with a broken ankle that wouldn't heal, even with multiple surgeries. So he sought help from the man's own body.

Einhorn drew bone marrow from the man's pelvic bone with a needle, condensed it to about four teaspoons of rich red liquid, and injected that into his ankle.

Four months later the ankle was healed. Einhorn, chairman of orthopedic surgery at Boston University Medical Center, credits "adult" stem cells in the marrow injection. He tried it because of published research from France.

Einhorn's experience isn't a rigorous study. But it's an example of many innovative therapies doctors are studying with adult stem cells. Those are stem cells typically taken from bone marrow and blood — not embryos.