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Don’t Cut Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding, UK Scientists Urge MEPs

Don’t Cut Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding, UK Scientists Urge MEPs

 

Leading UK scientists, together with notable medical and patient groups, have all called on members of the European parliament to resist anti-abortion groups’ demands to cut funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

Reports the Guardian:

“The European parliament must send a clear sign that it recognises the importance of embryonic stem cell research,” said Sir Mark Walport, the director of the Wellcome Trust in London, one of the signatories to a joint statement expressing concern that MEPs may shortly vote to exclude embryonic stem cells from Horizon 2020, its programme for research and innovation for the next six years.

“While the amount of funding allocated to such research under Horizon 2020 is likely to be only a small portion of the overall budget, to close down such a vital avenue of research would be a massive blow to European science. It will significantly set back research into very serious diseases including Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis and is likely to cost European research its competitive advantage,” said Walport.

The Association of Medical Research Charities, British Heart Foundation, European Genetic Alliances’ Network, Medical Research Council and Parkinson’s UK have also signed the statement.

The Framework Seven program, the present EU research effort, pays for embryonic stem cell research in countries where it is legal. Ministers had already agreed to maintain this deference as part of the multifaceted Horizon 2020 project which starts in 2014.

However, two committees within the European Parliament have now moved to hold hearings on the project, starting this coming week, with several MEPs expected to call for an end to funding on moral grounds.

Three main types of stem cells are currently used in research. These include adult induced pluripotent, embryonic and fetal stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells have proved controversial because they are harvested from day old embryos, something anti-research groups and anti-abortion groups have found objectionable, usually on religious grounds.

 

Related Reading:

Susan G. Komen Foundation Also Stops Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Stem Cells Could Save Highly Endangered Species

Spray-On Stem Cells Speed Healing Process For Burn Victims

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution license with thanks to BWJones.

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47 comments

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2:48AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

It is a contraversial topic, however the research undertaken is vital for gaining insight into conditions which have previously been thought to be untreatable. However there are other options such as mesenchymal stem cells which can be taken from fat from an adult or umbilical cord stem cells which can be stored for use for that child later in life. Both of these options have less ethics surrounding them in comparison to embryonic stem cells.

12:35PM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

Heather M:
"Don't have a problem with adult induced pluripotent stem cells but whats to stop them using women to harvest embryos. Even to pay them to get pregnant and harvest the day old embryo?"
No form of birth control is 100% effective, so unfortunately women will continue to have unwanted pregnancies.
If we continue to provide women who want or need abortions, and regulate the places that provide these, so women can go those clinics and safely get this procedure done, there will be plenty of harvested embryos and stem cells. If they were to make abortions illegal, that's where you would have this "paying for them to get pregnant to harvest the embryos".

6:54AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

will continue to pursue stem cell research.

Oops. Didn't complete my thought.

5:51AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

Fighting against stem cell research is just the latest witch hunt. Those that oppose stem research are generally people who can believe in literal interpretations of stories in the Bible. Logic and intelligence don't play roles in their decision making. Granted logic and intelligence can't be the only the tools you use to make decisions but you can't leave them out. I am wholey dissappointed in the US for not pursuing stem cells as we should and hope that other countries with better legislatures that don't have creationists sitting in Congress.

1:31AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

Too bad the people who supposedly care about human life don't care about EXISTING humans, and not just potential ones.

12:10AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

noted

9:17PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

I think stem cell research should definitely continue.

9:00PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Don't have a problem with adult induced pluripotent stem cells but whats to stop them using women to harvest embryos. Even to pay them to get pregnant and harvest the day old embryo? Its a dangerous road to go down. The adult stem cells are a brilliant idea to save lives and improve lives re disease etc. All life needs to be respected and protected.

3:43PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Stem cell research is amazing. If these scientists get the funding they need, it will only continue to become more amazing. Abortion isn't going to become more common because of stem cell research, it is the parents decision whether or not they wish to abort the fetus and this research will have no impact on their decision. What this research will do is ensure that the aborted fetus does not go to waste, but potentially save thousands of lives in future generations. Please, don't give in to the fanatics.

1:46PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Please MEPs, don't let ignorant fanatics cow you into cutting funding for this most vital research. Don't go down the path of ignorance that the US has embraced. As the US continues it's downward spiral, somebody somewhere in the world needs to take up the slack and continue making progress in the field of medicine, not to mention so many other fields.

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