Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Moderate Media Coverage of California's New, $32 Million Stem Cell Bank

The California stem cell agency this week scored moderately well in media coverage of the announcement of its $32 million stem cell bank, the world’s largest such public effort.

Most of the coverage was based in California but, of course, all of the stories can be read globally. The San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee and a chain of newspapers in the Bay Area carried articles, among others.

Missing was coverage from major national outlets, such as the New York Times. Also absent was coverage by television news outlets, according to a search this morning on Google. A spokesman for the agency said the Buck Institute, which houses the bank, has restrictions on video coverage.

Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times called the bank opening a “big win” for the $3 billion agency.  

A story by Stephanie ONeill of  KPCC  carried a factoid missing from all other stories – the cost of the cells from the bank in Marin County, north of San Francisco. O'Neill reported,
"The cost of each vial will range from $750 for researchers affiliated with nonprofit research organizations to $1,500 for those who work  for-profit companies, says (California) Institute for Regenerative Medicine spokesman Kevin McCormack."
The Bee story reported much larger figures, which the stem cell agency today said are incorrect.

Jeff Buchanan, who is based in Wisconsin for xconomy, wrote a story with a headline that reflected his focus on the Wisconsin firm involved,
“Cellular Dynamics Launches ‘World’s Largest’ Public Stem Cell Bank”
Buchanan also wrote that the company’s executive vice president, Chris Parker, said that the bank offers more than other banks. Buchanan reported,
“’The diseases, the demographic information that’s associated with them, the clinical data, the genetic and genomic data available—that’s what’s really making these lines valuable,’ (Parker) says. Donors gave consent for their tissue samples to ‘be used for a variety of research purposes,’ giving investigators considerable latitude, says Parker.”
Here are links to the other stories that turned up in the Google search this morning: San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and other papers in its chain, KGO, California Healthline, Philadelpha Business Journal and Latino Health.
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