Lack of stem-cell legislation is stifling progress, say scientists

April 27, 2001

Scientists have complained that parliament is putting the brake on progress by dragging its feet over legislation on stem-cell research.

The government needs to assign a regulator for stem cells to monitor research and control their use in treatment, Ruth Deech, chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, told a House of Lords select committee this week.

Mrs Deech said that UK embryo research was the most regulated in the world yet the most advanced.

However, she said that stem cells did not fall under the jurisdiction of the HFEA. She was concerned about who would decide when and if stem cells were to be used in treatments.

The committee is looking at issues concerned with human cloning and stem-cell research arising from new HFEA regulations that extend the original framework beyond the use of embryos in treating infertility to researching embryonic development and serious disease.

It is due to report at the end of the year.

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