Newsweek blows the Atala stem cell paper, too

January 20, 2007  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

Newsweek International in its 22 January edition says of the Atala amniocentesis stem cell paper in Nature Biotechnology, "What's more, the stem cells are also found in the placenta, which is thrown away after birth - so doctors may obtain them from all infants, not just those subject to amniocentesis." It proceeds to tell us, however, that "Many scientists are quick to emphasize that comprehensive human trials are still many years away." Really? Then "many scientists" are unaware that if you go to the government's clinical website you'll find that there's already a trial underway using placental and umbilical cord cells against multiple sclerosis. They're also unaware that America's most prestigious medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, carried a paper on a placenta stem cell trial back in 1996, "Placental Blood as a Source of Hematopoietic Stem Cells for Transplantation into Unrelated Recipients." It reported on another placenta blood trial two years later. Of course, technically speaking, those were many years away - away in the past.

Too bad many editors don't realize they have science writers who don't understand - or worse, misrepresent - science.