Jun 13, 2003
Multiple Sclerosis Society
Scientists have been granted a licence allowing them to carry out stem cell research by artificially stimulating donated human eggs by a process called parthenogenesis.
The Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, which cloned Dolly the sheep, will experiment on stem cells extracted from embryos, including those donated as a result of IVF treatment. It hopes to encourage the cells to develop new medical treatments for degenerative illnesses.
A spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said the licence for research using donated embryos would be stringently monitored. "It is important that any research involving human embryos is scrutinised and properly regulated," she said. "In years to come we think stem cells offer huge benefits as cell transplants to help patients.
"It's hoped you will be able to take these cells, put them into peoples' bodies and they will in effect mend the cells that are not functioning properly. But the medical applications are a long way down the line and it's important that we do the underpinning scientific work."
The HFEA was given the power to licence parthenogenesis after a ruling
by the House of Lords in March 2003 clarified the law regarding the regulation
of embryos created outside the body.
Copyright © 2003, Multiple Sclerosis Society