Thursday, October 29, 2009

Disease Team News Coverage, Irony and a 'Sinking' State

The California stem cell agency's $230 million disease team research effort, which boosted CIRM's spending beyond $1 billion, attracted moderate news coverage this morning and late yesterday.

Some publications, however, appeared to ignore the story entirely, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee, based on our Internet searches. The performance of the Times was particularly strange since more than $80 million is going to institutions in that area.

The San Francisco Chronicle published a page one story by Erin Allday, who listed all the approved programs and interviewed some scientists. She quoted CIRM director Jeff Sheehy as saying,
"These are not well-placed bets. These are carefully considered projects. We are not casually throwing away money hoping we'll get a cure at the end of the day. We're moving forward aggressively but with a rigorous review of science."
The Chronicle, New York Times, Nature and the San Diego Union-Tribune all noted that most of the disease team grants do not involve human embryonic stem cell research, which was the rallying cry for Prop. 71, the political device that created CIRM. Thomas Kupper of the San Diego paper called that fact ironic.

One sharp-tongued blogger, Wesley J. Smith of “Second Hand Smoke,” wrote,
“So, do I now think that the CIRM is peachy keen because it is beginning to support ethical stem cell research? No! I don’t care if the CIRM swore off ESCR for good. The state is sinking beneath the red ink waves. School funds are being cut, the UC system is a mess, health care is shriveling, and our state parks are only going to be open on weekends. The Bay Bridge is falling–literally–apart and other infrastructure is in trouble. We have debt past the horizon with no relief ship in sight. If the CIRM really wanted to help California, it would close up shop.”
On an industry blog, In Vivo, Alex Lash focused on Novocell, which will receive CIRM's first-ever loan for its research.

The Toronto Sun carried a small story. It appears that coverage was light in Canada and the United Kingdom, probably because the size of the grants involved there was relatively modest.

Here are our reports yesterday on the NY Times and Nature coverage. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:58 PM

    As I understand it there are 3 kinds of stem cells, adult, embryonic and a third kind called parthenogenic, the latter deriving from an unfertilized egg (no viable human embryos destroyed) , making it immunolgically simpler with less chance of immune rejection. ISCO.OB (International Stem Cell Corporation) was first to perfect the method, owns the IP here, so much like WARF who licenses its technology, if this becomes the stem cell of choice, all roads will go through this company.

    To read about it's breakthrough on 10/27/09 in Creating an Abundant and Ethical New Source of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells please continue to the following link: