Supposed New Embryonic Stem Cell Research Technique Killed All Embryos

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 25, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 25
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A supposedly new method of obtaining embryonic stem cells for research without destroying any human embryos appeared to be untrue. Upon further examination of the research paper making the claims, it appears all of the 16 human embryos Advanced Cell Technology used to come up with the process died during the procedure.

The biotech firm made amazing claims that produced a media sensation around the world when it said it had developed a morally ethical method of obtaining the cells.

Pro-life advocates have long opposed embryonic stem cell research because human life id destroyed in the process. Not so with the single-cell biopsy technique called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), ACT claimed.

ACT said it was able to develop two viable embryonic stem cell lines from a total of 16 human embryos. But, they all died, leading bioethics watchdog Wesley J. Smith explains.

"I have checked this out. The actual paper published in Nature states that all 16 embryos were destroyed and 4-7 cells taken from each 8-10 cell embryo," he said. That differs from an ACT press release which maintained just one cell was taken from each human embryo in the process.

In fact, the researchers did not take one cell from an early embryo, allowing the embryo to survive, while obtaining embryonic stem cell lines," he explained. "They destroyed all the embryos."

Smith said the Nature article proves that it might be possible to obtain the embryonic stem cells without destroying the days-old unborn child, but ACT did not successfully do that.

Smith said ACT successfully duped the media into thinking it had achieved success.

"The press release from ACT told a different story and the media stampeded. In other words, they wrote off the press release, not the actual published science," Smith said, calling it "shameful."

The ACT media blitz apparently had the desired effect.

Shares of Advanced Cell doubled within a matter of minutes on the announcement yesterday, going on to close the regular trading session up $1.43 to $1.83, an upswing of nearly 358%.

The uptick comes after a year of declining stock value in which the price per share dropped from nearly $3.00 to a low of 40 cents just before the announcement.

However, early criticism Friday morning of its announcement by pro-life advocates and these revelations that the press statements don’t match the results in the Nature article are already hitting the stock. At press time, ACT shares are down 46 cents, or nearly 29 percent.