France authorises human stem cell research

6th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 5 (AFP) - The French government announced measures Tuesday regulating national research into stem cells from human embryos that it hopes will yield valuable advances against illness and genetic dysfunction.

PARIS, Oct 5 (AFP) - The French government announced measures Tuesday regulating national research into stem cells from human embryos that it hopes will yield valuable advances against illness and genetic dysfunction.  

But while Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told a media conference the official approval would "let scientists do research," he stressed that a new law banning human cloning remained in force.  

Stem cell research raised "considerable therapeutic hope" for sufferers of heart problems, diabetes and Parkinson's disease, he said.  

A decree covering the domain that came into effect last week allows scientists in France a five-year window during which such research will be allowed.  

French teams will thus be able to "work on superfluous embryos which are not subject to parental plans," Douste-Blazy said.  

Medical researchers at the media conference said many of the stem cells would come from fertilised human eggs around five or six days old.  

A junior science minister, Francois Aubert, said stem cell research was of "world importance" and it "would have been a sort of unrealistic limitation to prevent it".  

The French position toes a middle line in a controversial area of science that has drawn varied responses from governments around the world.  

The United States bans cloning but allows stem cell research in privately funded labs.   Britain allows not only stem cell research but also cloning.  

A team in South Korea announced early this year that it had pioneered the cloning of embryos from stem cells.  

Stem cells are nascent cells that can be coaxed by chemical signals in the body into becoming different kinds of tissue.  

Ones that come from embryos are considered the most versatile, and can be used to repair or regenerate damaged or diseased tissue virtually anywhere in the body - particularly if derived from cloning.  

However some groups, particularly in strongly Catholic countries, have opposed the revolutionary science on ethical and moral grounds.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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