Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stem Cell Slant

James Taranto is projecting in the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal today. He accuses The Times of London of slanting it's coverage of a recent breakthrough in stem cell therapy.


Diabetics using stem-cell therapy have been able to stop taking insulin injections for the first time, after their bodies started to produce the hormone naturally again," the Times of London reports. That's the first paragraph. In the eighth and ninth, we learn that this promising field of technology is under threat from "powerful critics":

Times of London:

Previous studies have suggested that stem-cell therapies offer huge potential to treat a variety of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neuron disease. A study by British scientists in November also reported that stem-cell injections could repair organ damage in heart attack victims.

But research using the most versatile kind of stem cells--those acquired from human embryos--is currently opposed by powerful critics, including President Bush.


So that means if Bush had his way, he would've stopped the new diabetic breakthrough? Uh, no, it turns out:

Times of London:

After stem cells had been harvested from their blood, they then underwent a mild form of chemotherapy to eliminate the white blood cells causing damage to the pancreas. They were then given transfusions of their own stem cells to help rebuild their immune systems.


So this story has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells. But the Times doesn't tell us that until paragraph No. 16."

Unfortunately for Mr. Taranto, most reader's will encounter paragraph 2 :

"In a breakthrough trial, 15 young patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes were given drugs to suppress their immune systems followed by transfusions of stem cells drawn from their own blood."

prior to reading paragraph 16.

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