Monday, September 05, 2005

Lord Winston on embryonic stem cell research

Lord Winston, who pioneered fertility research in the UK, bemoans the hype and spin from some supporters of embryonic stem cell research.

He says: "I view the current wave of optimism about embryonic stem cells with growing suspicion. Embryonic stem cells replicate very slowly in culture, and it may well be that in the culture systems where you want to grow them the selective pressure is in favour of the faster growing cells, the ones of course which are most likely to be genetically abnormal."

And a backlash could be around the corner when promises made to those with terminal illness are not being fulfilled.

"When disappointment sets in, as may be possible, we can expect a massive backlash by the 'right to life' groups, who are always ready to pounce when they perceive a chink in our arguments," Winston says.

The Guardian, which ran the story, adds that Winston singles out embryonic stem cells as a case study in scientific arrogance and the dangers of "spinning" a good story.

Read the article here.

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