Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gail Dutton "got it right" on stem cells in July 2005

Note that a July 2005 article by Gail Dutton is remarkable for accurately forecasting the state of stem cell work in 2007. The article is remarkable also because it does NOT mention Hwang, EVEN THOUGH in July 2005 the second paper by Hwang Woo Suk in Science had been published and NOT YET exposed as fraudulent. Dutton did not mention explicitly therapeutic SCNT, but emphasized the "genetic screening" aspect of stem cell work over the therapeutic aspect.

Dutton also mentioned that stem cell research is more about "educating researchers" than about "practical therapies," a reality that the Proposition 71 folks in California are just coming to grips with in 2007.

Dutton wrote:

The promise of stem cell research, in many ways, is less about practical therapies and more about sparking the imagination of a generation of biologists. Careers are changing, as researchers' begin to focus more on cell signaling rather than on molecular biology.

The first commercialized usage of stem cells is likely to be in drug screening. "We believe it is important to use cells from cloned human embryos for research because of concerns that the present cloning procedures may introduce epigenetic abnormalities into the cells," Dr. Wilmut explains. The research using these cells will itself be useful.

IPBiz notes that the internet version of Dutton's article does not capture the experience of the paper version, wherein this text appears after four page shifts, way in the back of the magazine. Probably not many "paper people" reached this text.

Dutton quoted Wilmut: "At present," Dr. Wilmut says, "a small number of drugs can be tested in animal models. A high throughput laboratory test would be able to screen hundreds of drugs in the same time and for less cost. The aim is to identify drugs that are able to stabilize the patient so further degeneration does not occur."

The title of Dutton's 2005 article: Navigating Stem Cell Fact and Fiction, which is an appropriate warning for those reading some California newspapers.

One IPBiz reader passed along the following link to secondhand smoke.

[IPBiz post 2997]


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