Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trounson Reports Not Appearing in American Mainstream Media


For the California stem cell agency, the good news is that the Australian stories about an investigation linked peripherally to its incoming president, Alan Trounson, have not really surfaced in the United States.

The usual online searches today failed to turn up any significant stories on the matter in the mainstream American media.

The not-so-good news is that the stories have handed another cudgel to those who would batter embryonic stem cell research. The case in point is an item by J. Wesley Smith(see photo), whose piece was headlined, "New CIRM Director's Research Under a Potential Cloud."

However, after some initial fumbling, the Australian stories have made it clear that Alan Trounson is not under investigation. Rather, another senior scientist involved in the $1.2 million project is the target, according to Australian officials.

The Australian, in a story by Leigh Dayton quoted California stem cell Chairman Robert Klein on the matter.
"I am fully aware of this and it is not Alan's work that is being questioned. My understanding is that this is a data issue that relates to the science carried out by a specific researcher."
Dayton wrote that Klein "solidly backed" Trounson. Dayton reported that Klein said that Trounson discussed the matter with the presidential search committee prior to his appointment.

One report from Australia quoted a CIRM spokesman as saying, "We're aware of the situation and have it under careful review." Interim CIRM President Richard Murphy confirmed, for the California Stem Cell Report, that was the agency's position.

Reporter Dan Box of the Australian wrote that Monash University is tossing out all the data from the experiment. He also quoted Monash officials as saying it is not known when the nine-month-old investigation will be finished.

Dayton wrote this about the details of the project.
Specifically, "benchmarking" reports claimed the group had developed a designer mouse that mimicked lung damage from smoking.

The reports also claimed the team had experimental results showing that treatment with adult stem cells reversed respiratory damage in the mouse.

According to the ASCC investigation, neither claim was supported by documentation in the lab's notebooks.
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