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

By Diogenes (articles ) | 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.)

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 26, 2006 1:54 PM ET USA

    Even if it were possible to extract cells without destroying the source embryo, such is still unacceptable for two reasons. First, an embryo has to be created via IVF, condemned by Humanae Vitae and other teachings. Second, a medical procedure may not be performed on a person without his/her consent, unless the primary aim is to benefit that person.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 26, 2006 1:51 PM ET USA

    Another example of the negative effects of Wall Street's discovery of healthcare. Physicians need as much focus on training in medical ethics as on the science of medicine. There is a real loss of the necessary leadership and institutional presence of our Church in medicine. The fact that orthodox bishops and parish priests have often bailed out doesn't help. The meeting of the Catholic Medical Association in October will focus on medical ethics. Pray for us.