More MS news articles for Dec 2001

Germany Divided Over Stem Cell Importation

FRANKFURT, Germany (Reuters Health) Nov 29 - The National Ethics Council on Thursday failed to give a clear signal on whether Germany should allow the import of stem cells from embryos for research.

After a longer than expected closed-door meeting, only 14 members of the 25-member council voiced support for allowing stem cell imports for research. The 14 members said imports should be allowed only under stringent regulations. Eight members were opposed to imports altogether.

The council did not issue a written statement concerning its discussions. A spokesperson told Reuters Health that a report would probably be issued in about 2 weeks, and would give further insight into the conflicting viewpoints among on the council members as well as recommendations for import regulations.

The 25-member council was formed in May to give the German government ethical guidance on life science issues. The German Parliament is expected to begin debate in late January on the controversial issue.

The debate among politicians and in the German press heated up this week after news that a US company had cloned a human embryo for the first time in an effort to use stem cells from the embryo to treat diseases, rather than to clone a human being.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd