I’ve found myself in the middle of an international kerfuffle over stem cell research in Ireland related to my post commenting on an article (You can read that article here, but warning you have to pay a bit to read it) in The Daily Business Post by reporter Susan Mitchell of Ireland on the topic.
The Adult Stem Cell Foundation of Ireland (ASFI) has taken issue with a number of things in my blog post and communicated as much in a sternly-worded email they sent me. Here is the email:
Dr Knoefler (sic),
Your blog on your website referencing ASFI is extremely inaccurate.
You are quoting inaccurate information which was portrayed in one newspaper in Ireland.
You state that reports suggest that the U.S Family Research Council have provided support on a number of levels including financial to ASFI.
ASFI have not received any financial support or otherwise from the U.S Family Research Council (FRC). Please remove this inaccurate and damaging information
Your references to ASFI are inaccurate and we demand that you remove them immediately.
You ask at the end of your blog what the motivations are of ASFI Let us be concise and to the point:
ASFI was set up to promote accurate information and national awareness on adult stem cell research and therapies worldwide.
Please confirm that all inaccuracies have been removed.
The Board of Directors of The Adult Stem Cell Foundation of Ireland (ASFI)
As much as no one likes to receive an email of this kind, I’m glad that ASFI has communicated with me and stated their mission, which I have now included verbatim in my original, now updated blog post.
Also, because they have said that they did not receive support from FRC and I only had one source suggesting that, I have removed that statement from my previous blog post, although I do not entirely understand why being associated with or receiving support from the U.S. FRC would be perceived as “damaging”.
Everything else in the original post about ASFI was either quoted from the newspaper article or was at most a relatively mild statement of opinion.
In general, my mission in writing my blog is to educate and inform people around the world about stem cell research, about the organizations and people involved that take various positions on the issues, about the events ongoing, and about ways that people can make a difference through action related to a diversity of types of stem cells (adult, embryonic, and induced pluripotent stem cells). I realize that people may often disagree with me. It is also entirely understandable that stem cells often evoke strong emotions and opinions. The field can be tumultuous, which is of course why so many people find it fascinating along with its potential to transform medicine.
I view the stem cell-related events in Ireland, including the article in The Daily Business Post, to be important and of interest to the readers of this blog so I did a blog post on these news events and provided a bit of commentary, which I believe was entirely appropriate and consistent with the mission of this blog.
I’d value your feedback as readers as always so please let me know your thoughts in the comments section. I also hope to continue to discuss the issues in a healthy dialogue with ASFI and in that spirit I make a genuine offer here to post on this blog any statement they’d provide me verbatim*, but of course I reserve the right to comment on it or disagree with it. That’s essential to a dialogue.
*As I do for comments on this blog, I would reserve the right to edit for inflammatory or otherwise inappropriate content, although I do not expect that would be necessary.