Looks like spinal cord regeneration might be the first target for embryonic stem cell therapy trials in humans. More info in the Science article.
It looks like Geron has developed a protocol to reliably induce ES cells to become oligodendrocytes, the glial cells that produce the myelin sheath. Here’s the details from the article:
For newly injured rats, the results are promising. In animals that received oligodendrocyte precursors 7 days after their injury, the cells survived and apparently helped repair the spinal cord’s myelin. Within 2 weeks, treated rats scored significantly better on standardized movement tests than control animals, which had received human fibroblasts or a cell-free injection.