A story came out today on the U.K. website Times Online that left me slack-jawed at the incredible level of spin contained within regarding stem cell research.
The story (which you can read in full here) gives the results of an extremely promising study in which diabetics were actually cured through the use of stem cell treatments, and claims that "diabetics using stem-cell therapy have been able to stop taking insulin injections for the first time, after their bodies started to produce the hormone naturally again."
That's fantastic news that might soon allow millions of diabetics to no longer require daily injections of insulin. It would really be a Godsend to sufferers of the disease. But is it a home run for proponents of embryonic stem cell research? Apparently not, the article states that "in a breakthrough trial, 15 young patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes were given drugs to suppress their immune systems followed by transfusions of stem cells drawn from their own blood." [emphasis added]
The two quotes above are the opening statements in the article, but by the time one finishes reading it, the impression is that the result is from embryonic stem cell research due to the overall tone of the piece, including this: "The findings were released to reporters yesterday as the future of US stem-cell research was being debated in Washington."
I'm sorry: is ADULT stem cell research being debated in Washington? Last I heard, the answer is "no." But could it be that there are other studies that show the efficacy of embryonic stem cell treatments? Let's see:
"A study by British scientists in November also reported that stem-cell injections could repair organ damage in heart attack victims." [link reference from source article]
Wow, more good news and based on this quote which immediately follows that above, President Bush and other critics are standing in the way of these amazing cures:
"But research using the most versatile kind of stem cells — those acquired from human embryos — is currently opposed by powerful critics, including President Bush."
The only problem is that if you actually read the article discussing the repair of heart damage in heart attack victims, the results are also from adult stem cells.
I find it incredible that the author mentions powerful opposition to research that's not even involved in these two studies. Had these two studies achieved these impressive results via the use of embryonic stem cells, the author would have every right to make the statements above. But even so, the point needs to be made that President Bush is not trying to ban research of embryonic stem cells, only Federal funding for such research. To date most (if not all) positive results from stem cell treatments have come from the adult variety, and not those from embryos. If there was such promise in the embryonic variety, private companies would be spending millions in research, without help from the government.
If that article in the Times doesn't display extreme bias, then I don't know what bias is.