NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -

Tone down the stem cell hype

Posted By


The University of Minnesota issued a news release this week reading, in part: “For the first time, stem cell researchers at the University of Minnesota have coaxed human embryonic stem cells to create cancer-killing cells in the laboratory, paving the way for future treatments for various types of cancers (or tumors). The research will be published in the October 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology.”

Local media picked up the story, including a WCCO report that said, in part: “Researchers expect to begin testing on animals within a couple of months, but it will be a few years before the research will be tested on people. The research will be published in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology.”

If such a result had been reported by the University of Wisconsin or the University of Iowa, you can bet that WCCO would not have reported on it. Tell me the last such study they reported on from the Journal of Immunology. But because it was local, it was newsworthy. I don’t buy it. It was a preliminary finding in lab dishes — not even in mice yet. Good science, no doubt. But let’s apply consistent news judgment to such preliminary science stories.

KSTP reported: “Researchers at the University of Minnesota have made progress in fighting cancer.” That’s hyperbole. They made progress in a test tube. Nothing has yet been shown in people — not even in mice.

You might also like


Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.

Comments are closed.