|From a Twitter feed today|
The apparent contradiction is not uncommon in health science news.
It is a variation of the glass half-full or half-empty expression. But the stakes are not trivial. They involve deep emotions and the finances of the patients who face decades of impairment and death.
The perspectives also involve the mindsets of researchers and entities such as the $3 billion California stem cell agency. It has been wrestling for 12 years with the problem of producing a viable stem cell therapy for any sort of affliction. Its funds could well run out -- as expected in about three years -- with no cure to demonstrate for California voters who created the program in 2004.
Should the agency and researchers surrender because the task is enormous and is likely not to bear real fruit during their lifetimes? Should they move on -- if they could -- to something that would provide a more immediate, major public health benefit.
Can or should taxpayers support what some might call dreamy scientific aspirations while the state could use the billions to improve education and daily medical care for the poor?
Some may be able to come up with firm, black-and-white answers to these sort of policy and personal -- at least for researchers -- questions. This writer cannot.
As for the agency, its funds are legally locked for stem cell research or something akin to it. All the agency can do is spend the money well in that area -- a restriction approved by voters in the ballot initiative process.
Meantime, the public is hit with contradictory messages, becomes cynical and less ready to back research. All part of the challenge that faces patient advocates, researchers and drug companies today. Sphere: Related Content