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Tory stem cell report puts UK medical research at risk

Proposals to restrict stem cell research threaten to drive away key science facilities from the UK, a Euro MP has said.

key_catherinered.pngA new report drawn up by a UK MEP has called for strict requirements on voluntary and unpaid donations of tissues and cells for the purpose of medical research.

But Catherine Bearder, a Lib Dem MEP for the South East, has warned the move would threaten important medical research from taking place in the EU.

She said: "It is unhelpful to call for further restrictions on the donation of tissues and cells in the EU at a time when the number of patients in need of treatment based on stem cells is growing.

"We cannot afford to further restrict our own supply of already strictly restricted regulated donations."

For example, at Oxford University, 42 research groups from 17 departments carry out related work.

Tissues and cells, such as skin, bones, tendons, corneas and haematopoietic stem cells, form a vital starting point for medical research into human diseases.

Conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, blindness, spinal cord injury, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease depend on the invaluable stem cells research.

Catherine added: "Oxford is a world leader on life sciences. The European Parliament's restrictive conservative philosophy - usually driven by ill-judged ethical motives - puts our research centres at risk.

"It could drive away high quality science abroad, for example to India. Regenerative medicine relies on a steady supply of stem cells."

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