Scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Milan have created the world's first pure nerve stem cells from embryonic stem cells. "This is incredibly exciting in terms of curing disease," says Dr Steven Pollard. "We may be able to create the disease in a dish. If we do that, we'll be able to better understand the disease and also to test drugs." The leader of the research team, Professor Austin Smith, says that "we're already talking with the bio- technology and bio-pharmaceutical companies about taking these cells into screening systems for new drugs. Hopefully that will come to pass within two to three years." The possibility of therapies for diseases like Parkinson's from human embryos is far more remote, says Professor Smith -- "That's a much more difficult and longer- term thing."