Brussels, 18 Mar 2004
A survey carried out in Germany has found that the general public is not against stem cell research and might actually encourage the government to use adult stem cells for research and treatments.
The report, published by the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch, was submitted to the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, on 15 March.
Christof Tannert, who carried out the survey as part of the project 'Discourse on Ethical Questions of Biomedicine', says he believes the report reflects the 'average opinions' of German society on the controversial issue, and that it should be used by Members of Parliament when drafting new laws.
All of those interviewed as part of the survey felt that adult stem cells had 'the advantage over embryonic ones of a lower risk of rejection if a patient's own cells are used, greater control of cell development, and a lower risk of tumours,' said Mr Tannert.
Half the interviewees said they would support a 'careful' relaxation of Germany's strict embryonic stem cell law, which specifies that only embryonic stem cells dated before 1January 2002 can be imported into Germany.
Most interviewees were against embryonic stem cell research involving the creation of embryos specifically for research, as well as that involving an egg that was donated for a purpose other than reproduction. The majority also declared themselves opposed to all forms of cloning.
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