Science Versus Sensationalism
Don’t give journalists an excuse to fuel the hype machine
James Strachan |
I was recently invited to speak at the International Society Cell and Gene Therapy’s (ISCT’s) conference in Florence, Italy, on the communication of cellular therapies. The title of my presentation? “The Journalist’s Dilemma: Science Versus Sensationalism.” It’s clear that cell and gene therapies are incredibly exciting, with “the potential to transform medicine,” as FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb put it – so we journalists want to talk about them. But we also don’t want to sensationalize the research.
I’ve heard stories of clinics being bombarded with calls from patients wanting to know if they could benefit from a CAR-T cell therapy, despite the fact that only around 300 patients are eligible for treatment. At the same time, we’ve got the growth of unproven cell therapy clinics, tapping into the hope (or hype)generated by media coverage.
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