Backing for hybrid embryo research

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has given the go ahead for research to be carried out on hybrid embryos.

Previously, UK scientists had expressed concerns that plans to mix human and animal cells in order to research cures for degenerative diseases would be halted under government pressure.

But the HFEA Licence Committee has now accepted two applications, from Kings College London and Newcastle University, to carry out research using human-animal cytoplasmic embryos.

The members of the Licence Committee considered the two applications at their meetings of 28 November 2007 and 9 January 2008.

The HFEA has now stated that the two applications satisfy all the requirements of the law and has offered one-year research licences to the two applicants, subject to a series of detailed conditions in each case.

In response to the HFEA's decision, Sir Richard Gardner, chairman of the Royal Society Stem Cell working group, said: ‘We are pleased that after a 12-month delay, the research teams at King's and Newcastle can now begin work on a truly groundbreaking area of stem cell science. 

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

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