Stem cell research: report from the Select Committee

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Stationery Office, 2002 - Medical - 60 pages
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The Committee was appointed in March 2001 to examine the issues arising from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Research Purposes) Regulations 2001. These regulations extended the legal grounds for research on human embryos to include the increase of knowledge about the development of embryos or serious disease, or to enable such knowledge to help in the development of treatments for serious diseases. The Committee's report analyses the potential of stem cell research to generate new therapies, and assesses the relative scientific advantages and disadvantages of research on embryonic and adult stem cells. It considers the ethical concerns about the use of early human embryos for research purposes and the implications of developments in cell nuclear replacement and reproductive cloning. The report discusses the current regulatory regime and the scope for future legislation, including the issue of informed consent and the creation of stem cell banks. Overall, the Committee finds that there is a strong scientific and medical case for continued research on human embryonic stem cells in order to realise the full therapeutic potential of stem cell research. Adult stems cell research holds the promise of future therapies which might make further research on embryonic cells unnecessary, although this is unlikely in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, to ensure maximum medical benefit, it is necessary to keep both routes to therapy open since neither alone is likely to meet all therapeutic needs. The role of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is crucial to the effective regulation of research and maintenance of public confidence.

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Contents

INTRODUCTION 1 1 9lGUIUl
vi
POTENTIAL ADVANTAGES AND LIMITATIONS OF
15
CELL NUCLEAR REPLACEMENT AND CLONING 5 1
26
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