Skip to comments.Clarification Issued on Stem Cell Work (Nature issues press releases?)
Posted on 09/01/2006 11:42:37 PM PDT by neverdem
The scientific journal Nature has corrected a press release and is considering whether to add further information to an article published last week reporting that human embryonic stem cells could be generated without destroying an embryo.
The article has political consequences because destruction of embryos, which is unavoidable with present methods, is the main stated objection of many who oppose embryonic stem cell research.
The journals action follows numerous news reports on the article and criticism from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which pointed out that embryos used in the research were being destroyed, a fact made clear in the scientific paper but not the press release.
Both the journal and the principal author of the article, Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology, say that the scientific report is correct and that any addition would be solely for purposes of clarification.
Were looking to see if the description is clear, but there is nothing wrong with the paper, a Nature press officer, Ruth Francis, said yesterday.
For about 10 years, fertility clinics have sometimes used a genetic diagnostic test in which a single cell is removed from an embryo at the eight-cell stage to be tested for abnormalities like Down syndrome. If no defect is found, the embryo with its remaining seven cells is implanted in...
The press release issued by Nature, however, incorrectly implied that he had removed just a single cell.
After news accounts based on the press release drew criticism from the bishops conference, which opposes in vitro fertilization and human embryonic stem cell research, Nature corrected its statement to make clear that Dr. Lanzas embryos had been destroyed. But the revised statement said other researchers, as he had noted, could use his technique to derive stem cells from cells removed in P.G.D.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Since when did professional journals start issuing press releases?
It appears Nature stepped on it.
You might find this interesting.
Mischaracterizations and outright lies have been a steady diet from this 'industry' ... but the public is generally easily manipulated so the lies continue. Lanza'a mischaracterization doesn't surprise me. But thanks for the solitary ping ...
"Since when did professional journals start issuing press releases?"
They do so all the time, especially the ones with wider appeal like Science, Nature, JAMA.... These and other journals sell ad space, so it is important to keep citations higher than competing journals and science magazines. This is done in part with press releases to call attention to certain articles.
"Mischaracterizations and outright lies have been a steady diet from this 'industry' ... but the public is generally easily manipulated so the lies continue. Lanza'a mischaracterization doesn't surprise me. But thanks for the solitary ping ..."
I don't think you read this right or read the article either. I read the article. Lanza says that the experiments were repeatedly done on the same embryo to remove multiple cells, which in essence destroys the embryo. So Lanza did not lie. The editor screwed up in the press release by overstating the results of the article.
It strikes me as Nature's mischaracterization in the press release, not Lanza's. I haven't read the original article in Nature or its press release, just the lay press. I wonder if the Nature author of the press release just looked at the abstract.
I found a great discussion about the press release and re-release at "The_Scientist Blog" and posted links to it on my blog.
Be sure and look at the guest comment as well as the description about the mood of the people who received the revision(s)
You learn something new all the time. Do you have any links on the practice?
Thank you for the info & link.
Since the term "body count" entered the public conversation?
As an educator who has spent the last five years developing curricula based on the advances in stem cell research, I empathize with Maher's commentary of ACT's advance publication. Having reviewed the article post-embargo, I immediately turned to the supplementary Table 1 Maher mentions in his commentary. Not only does the chart appear confusing, the Materials and Methods section makes no mention of the fragmented embryo fate. To the credit of the research team, the title of the article does not claim to have placed the manipulated/ fragmented embryos into humans and as Maher points out, as many as six cells were removed from a single 8-cell embryo.
The authors make reference to previous studies in which blastocyst formation was possible post- fragmentation or PGD. However, the authors fail to mention that embryos formed via IVF and subjected to natural or human induced (PGD) fragmentation on the order of >25 % loss (missing 1 to 2 blastomeres), fail to maintain the correct cell number [that is a typical purposeful ommission by ACT, and they do that too often to skew the presentation]. In these cases, the ICM and trophoectoderm cell numbers are reduced and apoptotic pathways altered. So whether this technique will take us any closer to meeting the ideology of the Bush Administration has yet to be seen. Without a viable and robust trophectoderm, implantation will be less likely. So like ANT and the other methods being touted in the name of pro-life, this man-made manipulation reduces the efficiency of embryo implantation and maintenance.
I would like to add to Mahers criticism. These breakthroughs in science remain funded by the private sector. The murkiness in the data table here is reminiscent of other papers that ACT has published over the years. Other privately funded projects suffer from the same scattered approach. Much of the important information is not in the research paper. The actual materials and methods must be cobbled together by reading the news, and not just one news source, but many. I find that the most detailed and accurate reviews appear in news published outside the U.S. (the source of the embryos, the informed consent, the negative results etc).
Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts
>> Nature issues press releases? <<
Look up. Nature just announced it's about to start raining again... around here anyways
The article quoted the author, who stated that those who oppose stem cell research because it destroys embryos would have no excuse to oppose his work. That pretty strongly implies he did not destory embryos.
It sounds like the paper was altogether unfit for publication in a scientific journal, and was rather more fit for the old "Omni" magazine. (Long ago, Omni merged with Discover, once a n excellent popular-science magazine; the result was a much inferior Discover magazine. Omni reported on science breakthroughs, but also mixes in paranormal stuff, science speculation and even some more-clearly-labelled-as-such science fiction.)b
What year did Science "__" change to Discover? I have a slew of old Science Mags.
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Thank you, neverdem. The ESCR folks love to muddy the waters.