There is so much to be infuriated about re: yesterday’s Associated Press story on the embryo/cloning stem cell conference that opened June 21 in San Francisco. Like men going through mid-life crisis, embryonic stem cell proponents’ own own hype has caused panicked insecurity with a public display of impotence and fessing up of the truth. Read for yourself….
SAN FRANCISCO – Despite optimism and enthusiasm, stem cell researchers arriving here Thursday for a conference are rowing hard against strong currents of financial, political and technical turmoil.
There’s even talk of trying to temper heightened public expectations that cures for diseases are imminent.
“Many of the technologies we hyped to the general public haven’t worked yet,” Celgene Corp. president Alan Lewis said Wednesday at a biotechnology trade show in Philadelphia….
Even the most outspoken proponents of the technology concede they are years away from actual drugs based on stem cells….
Recall my posting yesterday of the investment adviser’s caution to let taxpayers shoulder the “highly speculative” embryonic stem cell risk as you continue the AP story:
He also noted that venture capitalists “are very cautious” about investing in stem cell companies because of uncertainty over the field’s future….
Because President Bush has strictly limited the amount of federal funding for the work, scientists are left to rely on support from a few philanthropic groups and one corporate backer: Geron Corp., the money-losing Menlo Park, Calif., biotechnology company that has poured $100 million into human embryonic stem cell research since 1996 – about twice the amount the U.S. government has committed.
Geron is by far the largest company in the field, and it lost about $80 million last year. Other stem cell companies are struggling to stay afloat.
Advanced Cell Technology, a Worcester, Mass., firm has run into big financial problems. It also can’t obtain a steady supply of women’s eggs, a necessity and a giant ethical minefield.
This is causing…
… a growing number of liberal groups, such as women’s rights organizations and biotechnology foes oppose the work as dehumanizing…
… the egg supply has become a crucial sticking point for cloning supporters, which include California’s new $3 billion stem cell agency – the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Also recall when I said cloning is an indispensable component of embryonic stem cell experimentation as the story continues:
Agency President Zach Hall and other scientists say that cloning human embryos to harvest stem cells will be an indispensable way to make tailor-made drugs and develop powerful research tools.
Spread this article far and wide.