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Biotechnology Gene Therapy

Britain Halts Funding for Human-Animal Clone Research

10 years, 4 months ago

1829  0
Posted on Jan 21, 2009, 9 a.m.

Lack of funding precludes British scientists from continuing their research into the creation of stem cells from animal-human embryos.
Despite the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill having been passed in Parliament last May, two of the three license holders legally able to create hybrid embryos have stopped receiving funding. Both Professor Stephen Minger of King's College London and Lyle Armstrong of Newcastle University's Centre for Life were not told why funding bodies are refusing to finance the research other than suggesting competition for dollars from other projects was the cause.  “People reviewing grants may be looking at this from a completely different moral perspective,” notes Prof. Minger. “How much that has influenced their perception about whether this should be funded, we don't know.”  Creating stem cells from animal-human embryos involves fusing human cells with animal eggs. Researchers believe that at some point in the future, they will be able to create embryonic stem cells from a patient's skin, potentially leading to the development of individual treatments for such medical conditions as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson's.  Over the past year, Dr. Armstrong has created 278 hybrid embryos, but does not have the monies needed to retrieve the cells. Prof. Minger has not yet started his research because of the lack of funding necessary to purchase required equipment. The third license holder is still preparing a grant proposal. With existing projects potentially ending in just weeks, England's leadership in human-animal clone research is now threatened. News Release: Human-animal clone research halted amid funding drought January 13, 2009

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