Friday, August 25, 2006

Media Duped Again: Human Embryos Weren't "Spared"

Wesley Smith notes how the media were conned by Advanced Cell Technology's press release and didn't read their actual study before publishing the false news that embryonic stem cell lines were created without destroying human embryos. You can download what appears to be the study here. According to Wesley, all 16 human embryos were killed and 4-7 cells were taken from each 8-10 celled embryo.

I can't find the exact information Wesley is citing in what ACT's web site provides due either the information not being there or my inability to find it but if you read carefully you can see that the study says that 58% (or 53) of blastomeres (individual cells from the embryo) they used divided at least once and about half of the 58% (28 out of 53) formed vesicles. This means that there were around 90 individual cells (53 is 58.2% of 91) from 16 embryos which were taken out individually and experimented on and not as the media reported one cell from each embryo. So in other words, this experiment took out a bunch of cells (but it took them out individually) from 8-10 celled human embryos (which killed the human embryos) and then they were able to grow a couple of stem cell lines from those 90 or so cells.

Now how does this compare with the media headlines which say:

"Stem Cell Technique Spares Embryo"
"Embryos unharmed in medical breakthrough"
"New stem cell method keeps embryos and debate alive"
"Embryos spared in stem cell creation"

Not real well, eh?

In related information, after their news broke ACT's stock price rose 400% after being on a downward trend for the last year. I'm betting Michael West and Robert Lanza will make a bundle off one press release and the media hype.

UPDATE: Robert George sums up this research better than I in an e-mail to Mona Charen at the Corner.

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