Stem cells in the media today: the good and the ugly

There are many stories in the news about stem cells right now.

Some of the stories are positive and some are negative in terms of the actual news.

A separate issue is that some of the stories do a good job, while others are very inaccurate or use the news to confuse and push their own ethical agenda.

Let’s go over a good example and an ugly one.

The first is a story in the Wall Street Journal that announces the award of their gold medal in technology to Cellular Dynamics stem cell-based heart product. I am not a fan of the Wall Street Journal’s politics, but this story is solid journalism. It is good with clear facts and takes an opportunity to educate readers.

The second story is one as at that confuses more than it educates related tot he Nevada folks indicted for stem cell monkey business. I previously blogged about the Nevada doctor who was indicted for allegedly injecting more than 100 patients with some kind of placental extract that was claimed to have stem cells in it that would heal patients.

In this piece all of a sudden the reporter now is calling the indicted person an “embryonic stem cell doctor”. What the heck?  As best as I can tell this story has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells. It is about someone allegedly trying to make money off of a phony adult stem cell scheme.

So what is with the “embryonic stem cell” error in the story?

Either it is a result of a failure to fact check or it is an intentional effort to tarnish embryonic stem cell research by linking it with this legal case.

What do you think?


3 thoughts on “Stem cells in the media today: the good and the ugly”

  1. I think stem cell research gets hit from all directions as certain interest groups will do whatever they can to halt unimpeded progress:

    European court ruling ‘threatens stem cell work’


    Commenting on the decision, Prof Austin Smith of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, University of Cambridge, said: “This unfortunate decision by the court leaves scientists in a ridiculous position.
    “We are funded to do research for the public good, yet prevented from taking our discoveries to the marketplace where they could be developed into new medicines.

    “One consequence is that the benefits of our research will be reaped in America and Asia.”

    Prof Bruestle, of Bonn University, who was initially awarded the patent, said: “With this unfortunate decision, the fruits of years of translational research by European scientists will be wiped away and left to the non-European countries.

  2. I think the average journalist just doesn’t have enough of a scientific background to tell apart the difference. More than likely the fact that the injected substance was supposedly derived from placentas mudied the issue further for the writer of the article. I don’t think that the term was necessarily used in bad faith…

Comments are closed.