Nature | From the blog

Controversial bioethicist quits stem-cell company

Glenn McGee resigns from CellTex Therapeutics after three months in the post.

Article tools

Rights & Permissions

JONATHAN WILSON/KRT/Newscom

Bioethicist Glenn McGee has left his position at stem-cell firm Celltex Therapeutics after three turbulent months.

On 28 February, bioethicist Glenn McGee resigned his position as president of ethics and strategic initiatives at the stem-cell firm Celltex Therapeutics in Houston, Texas. It was the end of a turbulent three months for the founder and long-time editor of the highest-impact bioethics journal, the American Journal of Bioethics.

The announcement, posted on his Twitter page, came just two weeks after the 13 February press release by Celltex announcing that he would take the position. “I am preparing timely, lengthy, pointed comments on the whole matter,” McGee said on Twitter.

McGee had been working with Celltex since December 2011. The fact that he held that post while still being the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Bioethics, which he quit in February, drew scorn from many peers in bioethics (see Editor’s move sparks backlash).

McGee had aspired to put the company on high ethical grounds by carrying out clinical trials. When Celltex announced his move, McGee commented: “I am very excited about being part of Celltex as we bring this enormously promising new technology to the United States. “We are learning more about adult stem cells every day, and I want Celltex to set the standard for its ethical banking and use.”

But Celltex has been mired in controversy. The company claims to processes and bank patients’ stem cells, but a Nature investigation revealed this week that it is also involved with the clinical use of unproven cell preparations on US soil, which the US Food and Drug Administration has viewed as illegal in other cases (see Stem-cell therapy takes off in Texas). Celltex chief executive David Eller has told Nature that the company does not do any stem-cell procedures, but Houston-based neurologist Jamshid Lotfi says that Celltex has paid him to inject the cells into patients.

Journal name:
Nature
DOI:
doi:10.1038/nature.2012.10151
  • This article was first published on the Nature News blog.

For the best commenting experience, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will see comments updating in real-time and have the ability to recommend comments to other users.

Comments

Commenting is currently unavailable.

sign up to Nature briefing

What matters in science — and why — free in your inbox every weekday.

Sign up

Listen

new-pod-red

Nature Podcast

Our award-winning show features highlights from the week's edition of Nature, interviews with the people behind the science, and in-depth commentary and analysis from journalists around the world.