Sunday, June 18, 2006

Clive Cookson on Stem cell dispute threatens Europe's ambition

At least eight research teams (in the US, UK, Spain, Sweden and
China) are believed to be trying to succeed where Prof Hwang failed, in cloning
human embryos and then deriving stem cells from them. In the US, private and
state support fills the gap left by Mr Bush's restrictions on federal

Sir Richard Gardner, head of stem cell policy at the Royal Society,
the UK national academy of sciences, said there was little hope of achieving a
unified European policy. "Everything is such a muddle in Europe that the stem
cell research will depend on national funding," he said.

**Too much ethics?**

Toine Manders, Dutch liberal MEP, says: "If you look at all the
discussions surrounding biotechnology, I feel that we are clearly focusing too much on ethics. Of course we should prevent abuses, but we shouldn't leave it
to others to do the research. Otherwise we will eventually have two classes of
European health patients: those who have to get treatment at home and those who
will be able to afford a trip to China or elsewhere to get access to the latest
medical advances."


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