July 7, 2022

Is enthusiasm waning for embryonic stem cell research?

Telling signs in the media

From the public’s point of view, the shine seems to be wearing off
embryonic stem cell research as the months stretch on without miracle
cures. An editorial in the financial newspaper Investor’s Business
Daily spoke recently of the “failure” of Proposition 71, the California
referendum which authorised the creation of a US$3 billion stem cell
research centre. But, says the editorial, embryonic stem cells have
failed to deliver. “When funding was needed, the
phrase ’embryonic stem cells’ was used. When actual progress was
discussed, the word ’embryonic’ was dropped because [embryonic stem
cell research] never got out
of the lab.”

Even the lurid pages of London’s premier tabloid, the
Daily Mail, are sceptical. A recent feature focused on desperate
parents taking children to China for shady stem cell treatment. The
newspaper reminds its readers: “The fact is that people’s expectations
about stem cells are
unrealistically high, warns the International Society for Stem Cell
Research, a leading body of experts. Indeed, the conventional view is
that it will be years, perhaps even decades, before stem cell therapy
is sufficiently understood and safe and effective enough to use
widely.”

Since
2001 opposing camps in the US, the UK, Australia and Europe have been
debating, often heatedly, the ethics of embryonic stem cell research.
Is the air hissing out of the balloon?
~ Daily Mail, Jan 19; Investor’s Business Daily, Jan 12

 

Michael Cook
stem cells