FRC: National Science Foundation's Appalling Stem Cell Ignorance

Jun 14, 2011, 11:33 ET from Family Research Council

FRC Urges Foundation to Issue Retraction, Offer Full Correction

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family Research Council (FRC) today criticized the National Science Foundation (NSF) for displaying appalling ignorance about stem cells. In touting NSF funding of a publication about stem cell comparisons, NSF put out a press release titled "Social scientists study impact of human adult stem cell research." But the paper NSF references, and which the science agency funded, does not discuss adult stem cells at all.


The paper promoted by NSF, published in the journal Cell on Friday, compares embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. iPS cells are embryonic-like stem cells made directly from adult tissues by adding a few genes to normal cells, without using embryos.  The iPS cells are not adult stem cells.

Dr. David Prentice, Family Research Council's Senior Fellow for Life Sciences reacted with the following statement:

"I am appalled that the National Science Foundation would publish an ideological paper that promotes embryo-destructive research by attempting to link such research to advances in iPS cell research. While even this possible linkage is questionable based on the limits of the data presented, NSF in its headlong rush to promote ES cell research goes over the edge in confusing and prejudicing the public.

"Adult stem cells come from tissues such as bone marrow, blood, brain, heart and umbilical cord blood, and can be isolated without harm to the stem cell donor from birth onward. More than 50,000 people annually receive adult stem cell transplants around the globe, and published science shows adult stem cells are successful at treating dozens of diseases and injuries, including heart damage, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes and sickle cell anemia.

"Isolating embryonic stem cells requires the destruction of a young human embryo, and has yet to show published evidence of any success in humans. While iPS cells provide an ethical method to form pluripotent stem cells almost identical to ES cells, from any person, but without embryo destruction, iPS cells are not adult stem cells.

"The NSF should retract their press release and issue a full correction. Open debate on public policy and law regarding stem cell research cannot abide such scientific ignorance and willful misrepresentation," concluded Prentice.

SOURCE Family Research Council