Why so many questions about BWH lung stem cell research?

Not your typical stem cell research controversy. Check out my post on Nature Network Boston about the scientific spat that has relocated from New York and California  to Longwood Ave.

The first hit from a Yahoo search on “lung stem cells” this morning turned up a Boston Globe story on this week’s paper out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Played inside the paper, the story’s headline reads “Study finds lung stem cells, likely to generate debate.” It then goes on to detail how the findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are likely to “generate skepticism within the field.”

The second hit takes you to the NEJM blog with the headline “Human lung stem cells: A breathtaking discovery?” Note the question mark.

Why all the qualifications? Pull that string and it gets very tangled as it works its way back to two researchers who now work around the corner from each other on Boston’s Longwood Avenue. Amy Wagers, who in 2001 challenged co-author Piero Anversa’s earlier findings while she was at Stanford, now works at the Joselin Diabetes Center. And, it turns out she’s dealing with questions about her own work.

Also, this week’s Health Wonk Review is up. Among the best of the recent health policy post is one from fellow Bostonian David Williams, who bites the hand that feeds me. He chides Nature for encouraging scientific literacy while stashing its own journal articles behind a steep pay wall.

Site also links to a post by Jared Rhoads  who offers his own Randian take on the Mass Medical Society report on access to primary care. Like lots of other conservatives, he blamed it on the state health plan.   

What politicians ought to do is institute free-market reforms so that every patient regardless of their coverage is seen as a valuable customer and not a dead-weight loss. What I fear, though, is that as politicians and activists become enlightened to the disconnect between coverage and care, the idea of forcing physicians to accept new patients and mandating maximum wait times will gain luster.2 Thus I ask, how long until the Physician Mandate?


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