The Roslin Cells Centre (RCC) in Edinburgh, under Dr Paul De Sousa, together with the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, has issued a press statement today trumpeting all kinds of miraculous wonders that they hope to achieve by producing European’s first useable stem cell line. The stem cell line does not appear yet to exist.
Gone are the days when scientists only made loud noises when they had actually done something. In this field of research there are few nodding violets. Yet again we are exposed to pages of effusion with all verbs in the future tense, explaining with extraordinary confidence – given the huge difficulties many serious laboratories are experiencing in this field – that RCC approach will ‘help speed up the process of translating laboratory research into clinical treatment of Leukemia, Parkinson’s Disease and Diabetes’. Perhaps they have not heard that leukemia is already being cured with bone marrow and cord blood stem cells, and that the other two conditions are proving slightly more complex than one cell line fixes all approach that this simplistic press release seems to claim.
Money and fame and nationalistic pride appear very high on the priorities of those behind this initiative. But does Scotland really want to be acknowledged as the centre of the world for the distribution of stem cells derived from the destruction of human embryos?