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by
Julia Szabo

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July 31, 2011 - 12:03 am
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Sadly, the MSM as a whole may be relied on to display Caplan’s bias against stem cells by burying and/or ridiculing the success stories, even high-profile ones like Colon’s. They don’t bother to mention that in the past five years more than 50,000 scientific studies on stem cells were published and posted in the National Institutes of Health medical library, according to America’s leading adult stem cell scientist Dr. Christian Drapeau (author of Cracking the Stem Cell Code and Stem Cell Theory of Renewal). They ignore extremely reputable facilities such as Hospital Angeles, where patient safety is such a high priority that it has 23 Internal Review Board reviewed treatment protocols. (Under FDA regulations, an IRB is an appropriately constituted group formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects, and it is nearing the completion of its accreditation with the International Cell Medicine Society for offshore [non-U.S.] treatment of chronic disease.)

In fact, the MSM carefully avoids the subject of stem cells — unless, that is, you’re talking embryonic stem cells.

These are the controversial cells, harvested from dead human fetuses, that most people presume to be the foundation of all cell medicine. For the MSM, embryonic stem cells are not voodoo nonsense; they are cool, cutting-edge, sexy. They are headline-grabbers. They have the highly mediagenic property of “pluripotency” — the ability to morph into any type of cell in the body.

But adult stem cells are proven more effective and less risky than embryonic cells. Yet only embryonic stem cells and their supporters merit coverage in the MSM, despite the fact that fetal cells do not perform successfully in clinical trials.

In his article, Caplan staunchly defends the International Society for Stem Cell Research, lamenting its decision to shut down its web site, a portal that did little more than scare visitors away from adult stem cell therapies that might have helped them. He alleges that “some in the industry launched a barrage of legal threats at the ISSCR which, as a small scientific organization, felt it could not afford to fight even if, in the end, they would win.” Caplan doesn’t quote or even mention the ISSCR’s founder, Dr. Irv Weissman, an embryonic cell cheerleader who has been roundly criticized by his clinical peers for purposely ignoring advances made in the area of adult stem cells. I call that extremely biased, not to mention foolish — reporting that presumes and promotes reader ignorance.

The sad reality is that right now American technology’s highest apex is Facebook and Twitter; our medical advances are lagging seriously behind those of other countries — even behind the enormous strides made by veterinary medical researchers right here in the United States. The duty of the MSM should be to report medical advances fairly and accurately, wherever and however they occur, to put pressure on the FDA to approve the use of adult stem cells in American human medical practice. Our country could once again be a world competitor in medicine; re-establishing the United States as a global medical leader can only help our economy by creating jobs and keeping patient spending on our shores.

Until then, Americans motivated to take advantage of the best that modern science has to offer will continue to make travel arrangements for treatment. And for that, they deserve to be applauded as the pioneers they are, not pooh-poohed as medical tourists.

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Journalist and author Julia Szabo wrote the Pets column for the Sunday New York Post, for 11 years and now pens the "Living With Dogs" column for Dogster.com. Follow her on Twitter @PetReporter1. Photo credit: Daniel Reichert
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