Tag Archives: stem cells cloning

A Spectral Smack-Down

Arlen Specter reamed out Advanced Cell Technologies scientist Rober Lanza for their hype about having found a way to non-lethally harvest embryonic stem cells. As you may have heard, this development was only theoretical, as all of the embryos were destroyed so all their cells could be harvested and the chances of getting viable embryonic stem cells would be optimized. And since the success rate was two percent, "optimized" is very relative. We therefore cannot say that we have a non-lethal (let alone non-harmful) method of harvesting human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).

At first, ACT was only guilty of hype, which it has done before, but now folks on the web are calling out Lanza for having left out some critical details: when the AJOB blog, which is very pro-embryonic research, has an entry called "Paging Dr. Hwang?", you know something juicy came out.

What folks now say is that ACT soaked the harvested cells (blastomeres, to be precise) in the same dish as the original embryo, providing some cellular signals that would help the harvested cells live and be viable embryonic stem cells. This doesn't nullify the ultimate premise of their research, but it's black eye for Nature and a further disgrace to ACT. Perhaps ACT wanted this technique for themselves, and while they wanted the hype of a Nature article, they didn't want competitors replicating those results.

 (HT: Wesley Smith, who has posted half a dozen entries on this topic. You'd be well-served to read his and AJOB Blog's many fine points about this issue, particularly AJOB's entry on the "Kevorkianization of Stem Cell Research"–I'll even forgiven them for conflating all stem cell research with embryonic stem cell research…this time. 😉 )