Skip to comments.Adult Stem Cells Wars
Posted on 03/04/2007 3:35:01 PM PST by Coleus
"Religious Right Cited False Report to Combat Embryonic Stem Cell Legislation."
So reads the lede of a thread (an Internet posting followed by commentaries) of a group called "DEFCON: Campaign to Defend the Constitution." Translation: DEFCON hates the religious right and anything the religious right likes. If the religious right liked ice cream, DEFCON would hate it. So DEFCON hates alternatives to embryonic stem cells no matter how valuable those alternatives are in treating and curing human disease. In this case, if anybody took DEFCON seriously it could be sued for libel. The paper in question, presented by Catherine Verfaillie and others at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute in the journal Nature in 2002, is not false. Nature has not requested a retraction and the authors have not offered one.
Verfaillie's team was the first to report on non-embryonic (also called "adult stem cells" or ASCs) from marrow that apparently could become all three "germ layers," or subtypes of the approximately 220 different human cells. That would make them as pliable as embryonic stem cells, thereby removing the only real advantage ESCs ever had over ASCs.
Meanwhile, ASCs retain the advantage of already being used in over 70 cures or treatments (pdf) and about 1,300 human clinical trials, while ESCs haven't even made it past animal testing.
It was only natural and indeed fair that a ground-breaking report on such a political hot potato would receive incredibly intense scrutiny. It did. Ultimately a journal called the New Scientist declared what it believed to be irregularities, which were then investigated by the University of Minnesota. The investigation concluded that the paper contained "significantly flawed" data and its conclusions are "potentially incorrect."
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
"DEFCON: Campaign to Defend the Constitution."
Straining just a little, to sound über-conservative, aren't they?