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Stem cell research: The new medicine of the future

scientific field as increasingly controversial questions arise. Reliable cures for stem-cell research are still years away by any estimate. But the early investment is already paying off, as witnessed in the arrival of American researchers leaving the United States to continue their work in the United Kingdom.

Much of the difference centers on ethics. Views are polarized in the United States in a way that they haven't been in the United Kingdom, where ethics are not considered absolute. The country has found a way of balancing the benefits against the risk. The stem-cell debate has started there and is now left to run its course. Once we've answered the questions, perhaps we'll be able to pass them back to our colleagues in the States. In the meantime, the United Kingdom is performing embryonic stem cell research with tight regulations, including the illegality of reproductive cloning. Which we believe should also be made illegal in the United States.

With the passage of Prop. 71, hope is on the horizon. The proposition has helped establish the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to dispense the grants and loans, supporting research from the lab and on through clinical trials. On the wings of the passage of Prop. 71, the premiere stem-cell scientists from the United Kingdom will meet with leading researchers in California this week to discuss the latest findings and identify collaboration opportunities. This is a good first step for ongoing collaborations between the United Kingdom and California, which is now poised to be the U.S. center of stem-cell research.

Ron Reagan said it best at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, "the issue of stem cell research may be the greatest medical breakthrough in our or in any lifetime, many opponents to the research are well-meaning and sincere. Their belief on stem cell research is just that--an article of faith, and they are entitled to it, but it does not follow that the theology o
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Contact: Makeda Scott
makeda.scott@fco.gov.uk
202-588-6523
British Information Services
7-Dec-2004


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