The Promise, the Hype, and the Reality: It's a Different Perceptual Era for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Over at the Knight Science Tracker, Charlie Petit has a round-up on news coverage of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's first significant research grants for stem cell research. Though much of the focus in California and nationally has obviously been on the promise of embryonic stem cell research, only four of the 14 funded projects involve these type of stem cells. The emphasis is on projects that could lead to the most immediate clinical results, a strong if not "tacit acknowledgment that the promise of human embryonic stem cells is still far in the future" writes Andrew Pollack at the NY Times.

On Monday, in a keynote presentation at the meetings of the Canadian Stem Cell Network in Montreal, I will be reviewing how far we have come over the past decade in the framing of the stem cell debate and in terms of public perceptions. I will post a synopsis here next week and I will have several studies to report on this winter and spring.

In the meantime, readers will want to check out the Network's newly launched online Stem Cell Charter. The site opens to a powerful video. It's a testimonial by scientists explaining their belief in the promise of stem cell research. Yet it doesn't engage in some of the trademark hype that brands much of the past political debate. At the Web site, you can sign the stem cell charter, offering your support for research and endorsing a specific reason. I chose "the responsible advancement of stem cell research."

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