Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Embryonic stem cell success? Well, we're not really sure.....

The scientists at ACT have gotten the Lancet to publish a paper noting that after 4 months, two patients with eye conditions who received injections of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells have not had an adverse effects and have shown limited improvement. However, the paper notes that the scientists don't know what led to the improvement.
Similarly, we are uncertain at this point whether any of the visual gains we have recorded were due to the transplanted cells, the use of immunosuppressive drugs, or a placebo effect.
Amazingly, the New York Times has a (dare I say it?) somewhat evenhanded piece in their business section (maybe that's why) regarding the study. The article notes ACT's history of using overstatements in press releases to raise funds, the unusualness of publishing results on so few patients so quickly, the lack of a control group and the reality that the implanted cells might not have actually done anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment