August 9, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

SEC rules in favor of Pepsi on bogus stem cell propaganda complaint over 293 cells

Pepsi, no stem cells, Pepsi stem cell myth
Pepsi has no stem cells in it and none are used to make it.

What’s the deal with the Pepsi stem cell myth?

Does Pepsi have stem cells or ingredients from stem cells in it?

No.

Does the Pepsi corporation use embryonic stem cells to make Pepsi?

No.

These are myths.

Nonetheless, pro-life extremists have been targeting Pepsi because of these fake connections between Pepsi and stem cells as I have blogged about here and here, where you can go for more interesting, sometimes stunning background on this case.

Some pro-life shareholders even went so far as to file a complaint with the Security & Exchange Commission (SEC) fulminating about Pepsi’s relationship with a biotech called Senomyx that works on food additives.

I’m happy to report that recently, the SEC ruled in favor of Pepsi and against the nut shareholders. Note that this link will take you to a very conservative website called “The New American” that is very sympathetic to the pro-lifers.

The pro-life folks who are whacking away at the cola firm are not just wrong about everything, but also most likely they know they are wrong and so are engaging in blatant propaganda.

For example, the work being done by Pepsi via Senomyx does not involve fetal “parts”, but rather an immortalized cell line called HEK-293 cells (most people in science simply call them 293 cells).

293 cells have been used for decades by literally tens of thousands of researchers for important studies on every major human health condition. More than 11,000 publications used 293 cells and close to 1,000 papers mention the cell line specifically in the title of the papers. This cell line has been around for more than 3 decades and has been a workhorse for advancing our understanding of human disease.  I think one can say with certainty that these cells have saved lives.

The 293 cell line originated from an aborted fetus and were isolated by a researcher in the Netherlands in the 1970s. As best as I can tell it is not known if the fetus spontaneously aborted or not.

To my knowledge there has never been any controversy around 293 cells until recently. Further proof of the bogus nature of this issue is that Sean Hannity is on the pro-lifers side according to a recent comment of his. I’m betting it is only a matter of time before Rush Limbaugh provides his wisdom as well.

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