Gilligan’s Island, Coconut husk cars with no compass, Two Face from Batman Forever and the duplicitous approach to Treatment Results

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on October 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm

In the latest episode of Gilligan’s Island, we have the stunning headline:

“Embryonic stem cell breakthrough –

treatment for age-related macular degeneration”

gillians-island-mobile-car coconut bamboo

gillians-island-mobile-car coconut bamboo ginger professor

Why Gilligan’s Island? Because on the show from the 70’s the brilliant Professor was able to make a car or a radio or a submarine out of coconuts, shells and bamboo.  Pretty nifty skill to have but the only problem was; there was no gas for the car, no batteries for the radio, etc.  All of these devices had to rely on Gilligan to power them and because he was… Gilligan … he always ended up “driving the same way that Woodstock flies” and the car invariably ended up sinking in the lagoon.

This latest triumphant headline of the “Embryonic stem cell breakthrough” is a Gilligan’s Island project.  The “breakthrough” looks and sounds good, the science that went into it’s making seems strong and over all, it seems ready to take the world by storm…until you look more closely.  Upon more rigorous inspection it becomes apparent that this breakthrough is really, like the Gilligan’s Island car, made of coconut husks, bamboo and shells.

Take for example that scientists haven’t figured out a way around the tumor causing qualities of embryonic stem cells (ESC).  Consider also that ESC transplants require immunosuppressive drugs to counter rejection issues (autologous ASC do not).  Also, and this is no minor point when you consider a “breakthrough” announcement; the article states that these results and treatments are not available today, but MAY possibly be available 7 years down the road.

“Breakthrough” indeed.  I think Gilligan needs to get his hands on a compass…


We interrupt this episode of Gilligan’s Island with a word from our sponsor, “Two Face.”  “Two Face” is the evil nemesis in “Batman Forever” who is always of two minds on any given subject.  He chooses to bring about good or evil based upon the outcome of a coin flip (a philosophy called creatively enough, Flipism) and he apparently rules the media in regard to stem cells with a “fixed” variation of the Flipism decision theory.

2-face-batman-forever tommy lee jones

2-face-batman-forever tommy lee jones

I know, I’m on a bit of a tangent here.  Bare with me, I promise it will all get tied together.  So, before I lose you completely, let me spell it out in plain English.

For 6 years the media has used a coin toss to determine their coverage of and response to stem cell victories.  But the coin they used was fixed.

  • On one side was “adult stem cells” and when a story came out on ASC there was either no coverage or highly negative coverage.
  • On the other side was “embryonic stem cells” and when a story came out on ESC the coverage was either positive or in the often times scenario when there was very little positive to say, incredibly optimistic and forward looking.

ESC = good, ASC = bad…

regardless of what the actual story or science or results had to say.

Do you want proof?  OK.  You really don’t have to work hard to see the obvious duplicitous and blatant denial, deception or ignorance that is at work here.  If you want bragging rights we encourage you to be the first kid on your block to question this “historic embryonic breakthrough”.  How, you ask?  It’s easy and works every time on virtually every disease!  Just Google the name of the disease (any disease) and the words “stem cell”.

Do you know what you get when you Google “macular degeneration” and “stem cell?”

Mixed in with this “amazing embryonic breakthrough” (I still don’t understand how it can be a breakthrough if it is only going to “maybe become a reality in 7 years.”) you will find articles dating back to 2002…that speak to the therapeutic benefits of treating AMD with adult stem cells (ASC).

Now here’s the clever part.  How do they know it will take 7 years?  It’s easy.  WHEN did ASC treatments of macular degeneration first took place?  You got it!  7 years ago!  And today they are virtually common place.  So 7 years seems like a good guess for how long it will take ESC to develop treatments.  There aretwo big differences which are really quite large flies in their ointment though.  ASC never had to cure cancer or rejection issues before their treatments could be considered a success; ESC do.

Regardless, 7 years from now embryonic stem cells MAY BE able to treat macular degeneration.  Of course, the third fly in their ointment is that by then, ASC will have a 14 year history of treating AMD.


the not so proverbial fly-in-the-ointment

So we must ask the question:

Why is it that ASC treat thousands successfully with 130+ diseases and all you see are words like, “unproven”, “snake oil”, “more research needed”?  Why is it that when there are monumental ASC treatment successes you see the credit going to “timing”, “physical therapy,” “dietary changes” or “a side effect of the treatment itself” (I still don’t understand that one!)?  Or when they really get their back against the wall, they pull out their trump card and accuse people who are pro- ASC of being either religious zealouts or Ludites (anti-progress).

Well, I’m no zealot and I’m no Ludite; I just focus on the results.

When ESC show the remotest possibility of treating something, the horns are sounded, the confetti comes out and the balloons and the doves are released.  But is it REALLY a reality?  Maybe, in 7 years.  But only IF they cure the rejection and tumor issues.  Well then check back with me in 7 years.  ASC will have cured every disease under the sun by then.  But the ESC practitioners can go ahead and launch new products or a new company based on a 7 year old treatment derived from ESC.

This all just goes to illustrate the blatant two faced double standard between the media treatment of proven safe and effective ASC and the mere possibility of ESC treatments that MIGHT happen 7 years out and only if they overcome some huge obstacles.

double standard...get it?

double standard...get it?

If the media is going to be so incredibly duplicitous to the point of fraudulent claims and outright deception, they should do us all a favor and at least get better at it.  These heavy handed and obvious attempts at obfuscation and misdirection are worse than watching a magician try to pull a drunk rabbit out of a hat while wearing a thick pair of wool mittens.


The sick and suffering people around the world deserve better and the truth is…

We can all “see” right through this 2 faced farce.


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