Contrary to the major international front page splash over Advanced Cell Technology's embryonic stem cell non breakthrough, this story
, which could be a bonafide major advance in solving the ethical dilemma surrounding ESCR, only received minor media coverage. Why? In my view, because it would not undermine President Bush's embryonic stem cell funding policy--and that is the prism through which the media judges how to report stem cell stories.
Nonetheless, it appears that researchers have been able to derive viable ESC lines from dead embryos. If so, there would be no problem garnering federal funding, either under the Bush policy or the Dickey Amendment, since the research would not involve the destruction of embryos. (When I was at a bioethics conference in Rome last year, some of scientists involved with this idea presented their concept. I was impressed.)
If the ESCR ethical dilemma has indeed been worked out, it is worth at least as much attention as the ACT embryonic stem cell non breakthrough. But again, it doesn't hurt Bush's policy so the media perceives it as less news worthy. Also, don't expect the scientific community to jump and cheer. They are after more than full funding of ESCR. They want their values to control the culture.Here is the link
to the original paper. (HT LifeEthics.org.)
We will see where it goes from here.