WS study reveals comms' effect on view of stem cells

SAN FRANCISCO: The communication approach used to discuss stem-cell research strongly affects the public's perception of this scientific work, according to a study done by Weber Shandwick and research partner KRC Research.

SAN FRANCISCO: The communication approach used to discuss stem-cell research strongly affects the public's perception of this scientific work, according to a study done by Weber Shandwick and research partner KRC Research.

The study, presented at the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual meeting, found that 62% of respondents believe stem-cell research raises moral or ethical concerns.

However, they were far more likely to approve of the research if they viewed it from a health or safety perspective (72%), rather than a religious one (34%).

"For all those seeking to communicate, there are some important lessons to be learned," explained Micho Spring, chairperson of WS' North American corporate practice. "The sense was that there's a lot of work to be done in moving consumers forward."

Jennifer Sosin, president of KRC Research, noted that there are "three fault lines" in discussion about stem-cell research: different perceptions between researchers and consumers, knowledge barriers, and religious barriers.

WS will use the results of the study to help develop communication strategies for clients, Spring noted.

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