“Why so Much Fake, Unduplicable Stem Cell Research?”
“Stem cell research seems again and again to go off the rails when it comes to the ethics of research.”
“I think there are a couple of reasons why this particular area has gotten itself in so much hot water. One is that there is a relative shortage of funding. Because of the controversial nature of cloning -- getting stem cells from human embryos -- some avenues of funding have dried up, and it puts pressure on people to come up with other ways to try to make human stem cells. With less funding, there is more pressure. Sometimes people cut corners. I think that can lead to trouble.
“Another problem in the stem cell field is that if you can come up with a way to produce human stem cells without sacrificing or cloning embryos from humans, you are going to find yourself being a hero to the world. That is what happened in Japan.”
“There is a lesson here: Until somebody replicates and until somebody can show that they can also do what has been alleged, there isn't a breakthrough. There is only confirmation and then breakthroughs. I think we have to be a lot more careful -- both in science and in media coverage -- before we start saying, 'Aha -- here is a single study, a single report, a presentation. Now we have shown that something can be done.'”
“Another major problem in the stem cell field is that the number of people doing research in this area has shrunk. It is obviously of keen interest to come up with regenerative medicine solutions to all kinds of healthcare problems. I think a lot of post-docs and graduate students are saying, "I am not sure that I want to set my career track into a field that is sometimes controversial and where funding may be dipping." That may mean that there are fewer people to watch one another. It is not a big field, so maybe part of the reason that it keeps getting in trouble is less ability to do peer review.”
“What are science trainees learning about reproducibility?”