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Re: [IP] more on stem cells
Could you let us know where this article came from? Is it online, I'd like to
send it to some friends.
email @ redacted wrote:
> Didn't we come to this country in the first place to avoid political and
> religious persecution???? Are we gonna let the BRITS cure diabetes? all I
> can say is, I am renewing my passport.....
> LONDON (AP) - While American scientists pioneered the recent advances in the
> revolutionary field of stem cell research, Britain leapfrogged ahead to
> become the first nation to legalize human cloning for such experiments.
> Bioethics experts say the reason is simple: Stem cell research, which
> involves destroying embryos, is too closely tied to the abortion issue for
> the U.S. Congress to fund research.
> ``It illustrates the dramatic distinction in the way we think about bioethics
> here and in Britain,'' said Glenn McGee, a bioethicist at the University of
> Pennsylvania and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Bioethics.
> ``The British are less worried about the fate of the embryo than about
> scientists abusing the technology. In Washington, it is the day of the
> fetus,'' said McGee, who has conducted comparative research on British and
> American approaches to genetic and stem cell research.
> In the United States, ``political fear of the religious right is what's
> holding it back and it will continue to hold it back,'' McGee said. ``No
> congressman has yet taken up even one of our Bioethics Advisory Commission
> Dr. Sandy Thomas, director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in London,
> agreed it comes down to the influence of anti-abortion activists in
> Washington. ``We just don't have that,'' Thomas said. Americans ``are not
> going to get the same green light as fast. Britain has a much more liberal
> approach to reproductive medicine.''
> On Monday, Britain's Parliament approved new regulations that legalize the
> destruction of embryos for stem cell research. And in what experts say is a
> global first, Parliament permitted cloning to create human embryos for the
> In Britain, regulations apply equally to publicly and privately funded
> U.S. law bans public funding of research that involves the destruction of
> embryos. Although the ban doesn't apply to privately funded scientists,
> experts say that without federal money, U.S. scientists will find it
> difficult to make significant strides.
> ``Right about now, everybody in America who works in stem cells is looking
> into the price of a business-class ticket to London. All the good work will
> move there gradually,'' McGee predicted.
> Stem cells, the master cells found in embryos that give rise to all other
> cells in the body, are expected to revolutionize medicine. Doctors hope they
> will be able to cure or treat scores of illnesses, including diabetes,
> rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson's disease.
> Stem cells are extracted from the embryo at about three or four days old,
> before the cells have started to specialize to create a nervous system, spine
> and other features that transform the embryo into a fetus. The idea is that
> the growth of stem cells can be directed in a lab to become any desired cell
> or tissue type for transplant.
> Using embryos cloned from a patient would theoretically produce stem cells
> that are a perfect transplant match.
> However, U.S. scientists were the first to isolate human stem cells in 1999
> and have discovered much of the basic science so far. Johns Hopkins
> University stem cell pioneer Dr. John Gearhart says the British lead isn't
> surprising. ``The British scientists have set the pace in this field for
> years. They did it first (isolating stem cells) in the mouse,'' he said.
> The birth of the world's first test-tube baby in London in 1978 sparked
> passionate debate over reproductive ethics. The furor prompted a landmark
> scientific report on the ethics and science of reproductive medicine, which
> eventually led to the establishment in 1991 of the Human Fertilization and
> Embryology Authority.
> The agency keeps tight control over fertility and embryo research. The setup
> seems to have hit the right note, Gearhart said. Although the new embryo
> regulations faced impassioned opposition from religious leaders and other
> campaigners in Britain, the controversy was relatively mild. Campaigners
> opposed to experiments on animals consistently mount larger, noisier and
> sometimes violent demonstrations.
> ``What the Americans have with abortion, we have here with animal rights,''
> Thomas said.
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