Letters: Stem cell map of the world

Click to follow
The Independent Online

We are writing to ask you to correct a serious and potentially damaging factual error that was published in the Health and Wellbeing section of The Independent on Tuesday 3rd February and appears on your website.

Your article states that Dr Lyle Armstrong as been unable to extract embryonic stem cells from hybrid embryos and that he has run out of funding. It also states that Dr Armstrong now leads stem cell work in Newcastle.

While it is true that Dr Armstrong has not extracted embryonic stem cells from embryos derived from enucleated cow oocytes into which human somatic nuclei have been introduced, this was never his primary aim: to suggest in this context that he is unable to do so is misleading. His research aims at understanding nuclear reprogramming in these embryos, not at deriving ES cells.

Nor has Dr Armstrong run out of funding: his research continues. A more accurate statement would be that a recent application to a research council for funding was declined.

Finally it is entirely misleading to suggest that Dr Armstrong leads stem cell work in Newcastle. He is only one of a number of scientists working with ES cells, as a visit to our website www.nesci.ac.uk will show. We have a broad range of stem cell work in NESCI both in Newcastle and at Durham and it is led by us as co-directors of the Institute.

We should be grateful if you would acknowledge these inaccuracies and revise the article online.

Professor Michael Whitaker FIBiol FMedSci & Professor Chris Hutchison, Co-directors, NESCI