Thursday, June 23, 2005

Standard news format for stem cell articles

Here is a nice little article supposedly about a recent advance in adult stem cell applications.
Kiminobu Sugaya of Chicago's NewNeural LLC has processed human stem cells [from patient bone marrow] into nerve cells and implanted them in the brains of aged, demented rats.

The implanted nerve cells improved the rats' memories, Sugaya found, and could one day do the same for humans.

"In the animals we see a tremendous increase in neurons," Sugaya told a meeting of BIO 2005, the biotech industry's largest trade show.

But, following the format of just about every article on adult stem cell success, the writer immediately turns to the mythical and tantalizing "promise" of embryonic stem cell research. Promising, that is, if only those anti-choice extremists were not interfering with Science.

"Abortion foes have targeted embryo research as morally wrong, and President Bush opposes allowing the federal government to fund such stem cell research.

California voters have approved spending up to $3 billion in state funds for stem cell research, including embryonic studies. The embryos typically are unused byproducts of fertility treatments.

Embryo stem cells are desirable to researchers because they have the ability to produce virtually any specialized type of cell. Adult stem cells are less versatile, and bone marrow stem cells cannot normally be coaxed into making nerve cells.

Nothing says "I respect life" like calling an embryo an unused byproduct.