Stem cell misinformation

Karl Rove and Tony Snow have both gone on record saying that adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells have more promise for therapeutic value than embryonic stem cells.  This is simply false.  Embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated; they can, and do, differentiate later into all the types of cells found in an adult human.  We say they are “pluripotent”, meaning that they can develop into lots of kinds of cells.

Adult stem cells in the bone marrow are partially differentiated already; they can develop into red and white blood cells of various types, but whether they can develop into any other kinds of cells is a matter of current research.  Cord stem cells are also partly differentiated, and also show limited ability to differentiate into other cell types.  There’s a nice perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine that discusses the state of current research.

The take home message here is that, as usual, the Bush administration ignores the scientific evidence when it doesn’t lead to the conclusion they’ve already decided on.  We deserve leaders who will actually judge scientific issues on scientific grounds instead of by wishful thinking.

One Response to “Stem cell misinformation”

  1. Travis says:

    You said, “…the Bush administration ignores the scientific evidence when it doesn’t lead to the conclusion they’ve already decided on.”

    Not just on scientific matters. This has been the practice for issues across the board since day one. It’s what the war in Iraq was built upon, this idea that saying it and acting like it’s true really does make it so.

    It’s terrifying and Orwellian and for some reason they are getting away with it.

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