and speaking of ethical problems with stem-cell research,...

By Diogenes (articles - email) | Aug 26, 2006

... it turns out that the scientists at Advanced Cell Technology have some explaining to do, about issues other than the morality of the research itself.

In the article published in Nature magazine, ACT explained that stem cells could be harvested from human embryos without destroying the embryos themselves. But in the press release that generated so much hype, they didn't bother mentioning that in fact, in their research,all the embryos were destroyed!. Oh, yes, and that photo of a developing embryo that accompanied the press release? That wasn't an embryo used in this research.

In other words, the story that generated so much media attention this week, about the "breakthrough" in stem-cell research, was driven not by science but by public-relations hype.

To understand why ACT might want to oversell its results, just check the performance of the company's stock over the past year. (You don't need to be a financial guru to understand the chart. The steady downward trend tends the story. Then suddenly, these past few days, Bingo!)

Our story has a happy ending for the scientists. ACT has secured $13.5 million in new funding, and the shareholders are happy. Except for those who jumped on the bandwagon this week, and now face a stiff dose of reality-- which is something they didn't get in their newspapers this past week.

No truth at all to the rumor that ACT is going into the snake-oil business.

(Tip to Amy for the lead.)

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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