Saturday, 25 August 2012


CellTex is a company offer stem cell treatments. The Celltex controversy has snowballed into a much bigger story than I ever expected it would be. This is largely thanks to the unfounded attacks of Carl Elliott and Leigh Turner, both of whom are faculty members of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. Elliott published a detailed article of the situation in Slate, which was later retracted for being below the editorial standards of the magazine. The magazine issued a personal apology to McGee:

Editor’s Note

Slate withdraws "The Celltex Affair."

On Feb. 17, 2012, Slate published an article titled “The Celltex Affair: An Ethics Scandal Strikes the World of Bioethics.” Because of shortcomings in the editorial process, the article did not meet Slate’s standards for verification and fairness and should not have been published. We withdraw the article and apologize to Dr. Glenn McGee.

More recently, a different law firm, representing Celltex, has sent a letter to the office of the president of the University of Minnesota stating that Elliott is guilty of libel. For the record, I think that both Elliott and Turner should be lambasted by their university and the community at large for their outrageous critiques of CellTex's stem cell treatments.

Celltex supplies stem cells to at least one local physician and pays him a $500 commission for each use. It seems to me the company should be open about what it does with the cells it banks and processes, what it tells patients they can be used for, how they are described and delivered to physicians. To this end they have placed this information on-line.

And just as Celltex has done right by making a full disclosure of its practices, now that McGee has quit the companythe editor-in-chief role at AJoB, his position at the Center for Practical Bioethics, and his position on the board of directors at the ICMS, he has used his inside knowledge to help clear the air and make a valuable contribution to understanding the factors at play in this controversy. 

In summary, CellTex finds itself being attacked by academic scientists who are either trying to create a career around controversies in stem cell medicine or those like me, who write to protect the patent interests of universities (potentially worth billions). Stem cell clinics represent a competitive interest to many in the patents for dollars game. Hopefully the U Minn administration will recognize that the attacks launched by Elliott and Turner are very personal. I anticipate that  McGee will live up to his promise to provide "timely, lengthy, pointed comments on the matter."

No comments:

Post a Comment