Stem cell hype: Media portrayal of therapy translation

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Science Translational Medicine  11 Mar 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 278, pp. 278ps4
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010496


  • Fig. 1. Forecasting the future.

    (A) Suggested timelines for SC therapies. The categories “soon,” “just around the corner,” “in a near future,” and “in the distant future” indicate definitional ambiguity in the news stories concerning particular time frames (n = 307 articles). (B) Perspectives on the future of SC research in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom (n = 307 articles). The perspectives were divided into the three categories on the basis of the analysis shown in (A). Optimistic = 57.7%, pessimistic = 10.4%, and neutral = 31.9%.



  • Table 1.

    Newspapers included in the analyzed articles data set.*

    NewspapersCountryNumber (n)Percentage
    Globe and MailCanada227.2
    Montreal GazetteCanada61.9
    National PostCanada82.6
    Toronto StarCanada82.6
    Vancouver SunCanada3310.5
    The New York TimesUSA288.9
    USA TodayUSA113.5
    The Wall Street JournalUSA3410.9
    The Washington PostUSA82.6
    The Daily TelegraphUK3511.2
    Financial TimesUK3711.8
    The GuardianUK206.4
    The IndependentUK216.7
    The Times (London)UK3611.5

    *Of the 307 articles analyzed, 25.1% of the articles were published in Canada, 26.7% in the United States, and 48.2% in the United Kingdom. In the pre-Geron data set, 22.5% of the news reports were from Canada, 28.1% from the United States, and 49.4% from the UK. In the post-Geron data set, 28.6% of the articles were published in Canada, 27.1% in the United States, and 44.4% in the UK, with 11 out of these 17 articles characterizing it as a setback for the field.

    • Table 2.

      Intercoder agreement on key analytical categories.*

      Coding frame questionCohen’s κNumber (n) of valid cases
      10a. Did the article discuss timelines for the realization of the clinical promise of stem cell research (e.g., in reference to clinical trials, breakthroughs in research, animal studies, veterinary medicine, experimental treatments/transplants)?0.67532
      10b. If yes, what was the timeframe suggested?0.61332
      14. What was the major theme of the article?0.71832
      15. What was the overall perspective on the future of stem cell research presented by the article?0.70532
      Mean κ score0.67732

      *The level of agreement between coders was interpreted based on the Landis & Koch Benchmark Scale proposed in 1977. This scale has established the following as standards for strength of agreement denoted by κ: <0 = “poor,” 0.01 to 0.20 = “slight,” 0.21 to 0.40 = “fair,” 0.41 to 0.60 = “moderate,” 0.61 to 0.80 = “substantial,” and 0.81 to 1 = “almost perfect.”

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