This is an excellent article on the negative consequences of mixing politics and science. Michael Fumento on Stem-Cell Research & Science on National Review Online . We love the line about the "Kenneth Lay school for honesty."
How many diseases ASCs can treat or cure is debatable, with one website claiming almost 80 for umbilical-cord blood alone. Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council, using stricter standards of evidence, has constituted a list of 72 for all types of ASCs. But now three ESC advocates have directly challenged Prentice’s list. They’ve published a letter in Science magazine, released ahead of publication obviously to influence President Bush’s promise to veto legislation that would open wide the federal funding spigot for ESC research. The letter claims ASC “treatments fully tested in all required phases of clinical trials and approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration are available to treat only nine of the conditions” on his list.
Well! One answer to that is that it’s nine more than can be claimed for ESCs. Further, there are 1175 clinical trials for ASCs, including those no longer recruiting patients, with zero for ESCs. But a better response is that the letter authors come from the Kenneth Lay School for honesty, as do the editors at Science.
In the detailed attachment to their letter, the Science magazine writers aren’t just at odds with Prentice but the medical community as a whole. For example, regarding sickle-cell anemia, they claim “adult stem cell transplants from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood can provide some benefit to sickle cell patients” and “hold the potential to treat sickle cell anemia.” “Some benefit” and “potential?”
An article from the May 2006 issue of Current Opinion in Hematology notes that “there is presently no curative therapy” for sickle-cell anemia other than allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. “Hematopoietic” means from marrow or blood; “allogeneic” means the cells are from another person. Seminars in Hematology (2004) states, “. . . curative allogeneic stem cell transplantation therapy” has “been developed for sickle cell anemia.” Meanwhile, “. . . curative allogeneic stem cell transplantation therapy [has] been developed for” sickle-cell anemia according to Current Opinions in Molecular Therapy (2003), while “hematopoietic stem cells for allogeneic transplantation” are “currently the only curative approach for sickle cell anemia” observes the journal Blood (2002). (All emphasis mine.)
It's worth remembering that Science magazine published the Korean scientist W.S. Hwang, who claimed to have derived embyryonic stem cells -
How can Science not know all this? Simple; it does. I’ve written repeatedly of how the publication has made itself a propaganda sheet for ESC research, as well as other political causes. At the least, it should change its name to Pseudoscience. Sometimes it prints easily falsifiable studies, such as this, attacking the usefulness of ASCs. Other times it falsely promotes ESCs. That culminated in January when the journal was forced to retract two groundbreaking ESC studies that proved frauds.