A UNSW medical researcher, whose team recently discovered a way to use stem cells to regrow damaged muscle, has welcomed US President Barack Obama's decision to lift a ban on embryonic stem cell research.

In an opinion piece for ABC Unleashed, Professor Peter Gunning, from the School of Medical Sciences, said lifting the ban was vital for research to move forward.

Embryonic stems cells were far more useful than adult stem cells because they had the potential to grow into any kind of specialised cell, he said.

Professor Gunning said modern research was a community effort and the US decision would have a knock-on effect around the world.

Professor Gunning's own research breakthrough focuses on using adult stem cells to rebuild muscle from scratch.

The breakthrough could offer new hope to people with muscle-wasting diseases such as myopathy and muscular dystrophy.

To see the full opinion piece visit ABC Unleashed.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 | s.offner@unsw.edu.au