Stem cells: the hype and the dangerous reality

Why stem cells are overhyped

A breakthrough in stem cell research is announced every few months. While “breakthrough” is an appealing headline, all but a few have been about incremental research progress and far too many have been pure hype: Human cloning! Genetically engineered babies!  Human embryos made from stem cells! have been some of the headlines. In this article, Jeanne Loring, previously called a “stem cell evangelist”, tackles the bad science journalism on stem cells, and the dangers of dodgy stem cell clinics on the rise.


There have been genuine breakthroughs in human stem cell research. The greatest was in 2007, when a young Japanese scientist named Shinya Yamanaka published a scientific paper that showed that skin cells from a person could be “reprogrammed” to become pluripotent stem cells. To say that these cells are remarkable is an understatement. The word “pluripotent” has Latin roots that mean “many powers”. We each have experienced pluripotency i

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