A promising development

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 29, 2002

Today's San Diego Union-Tribune reports on a stem cell success story at La Jolla's Scripps Research Institute. (The story on the Web site is missing the lede -- I've typed it in from the paper itself.)

Growth of abnormal blood vessels deep inside the eye slowly degrades the retina, impairing vision for nearly 6 million diabetics in the United States.

But working with laboratory mice, a physician-scientist at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and his team may have found a way to stop that process, called diabetic retinopathy.

Dr. Martin Friedlander and colleagues have discovered that a certain type of stem cells found in bone marrow of mice -- cells destined to make blood vessels rather than blood -- can zero in on damaged veins, repair them and prevent further damage.

While using a similar technique on humans is still several years off, it once again demonstrates the superior promise of adult stem cell research over that of fetal stem cell research. To get the stem cells to do the treatment, researchers report that "patients will have to have bone marrow extracted, usually with a fine-point needle inserted into the pelvic bone or breast bone, which can be painful."

It's interesting to contrast the straightforward report in the Union-Tribune to the Associated Press report that appears on the Baltimore Sun Web site, which includes the following paragraph:

Stem cells are a type of cell that can differentiate into many different cells depending on what is needed. They form in the embryo and are also found in adult bone marrow.

Instead of addressing the definition of "stem cells" to the details that are specific to this story -- that adult stem cells were used. The AP gives a broader, though accurate, definition to include embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research has become a cause celebre for the media and for some researchers. Any success with adult stem cells seemingly has to be somehow connected to embryonic stem cell research -- which has experienced failure after failure with few successes.

I'll be curious to see how many newspapers and Web sites report on this development. A google search turns up only the Sun and a Yahoo! News article -- depending on your search terms.

I have a feeling that had the research been successful using embryonic stem cells that the media coverage would be much more expansive.

The debate over adult vs. embryonic stem cell research is not about the science. It's about research money. We should be doing research where there is promise and we get results. By that measure embryonic stem cell research is tantamount throwing good money after bad. The successes have been in the adult stem cell research arena -- and the media should be doing a better job of informing the American people about those accomplishments.


Transcript of the Hulu 1619 Project segment on Dunmore's Proclamation.

Again, none of this is true. Dunmore issued his order from exile on a ship off of Norfolk. He fled Williamsburg 5 months earlier (with his own slaves in tow) because the revolution was already underway.

I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in the state of Tennessee one month ago. At no time was I refused care and at no time was anyone restricted from saving my life, even though my baby did die. This is misinformation that could prevent women from seeking help. https://twitter.com/whitehouse/status/1617254668488278017

The White House @WhiteHouse

In states where abortion is restricted, doctors live in fear of being thrown in jail for simply doing their job.

Dr. Zahedi-Spung shares her story as we call on Congress to protect reproductive freedom for the people of America.

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July 2002



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