THE Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) has welcomed the vote in the House of Commons on hybrid embryo research.
“We are extremely pleased with this vote as it will help us continue with vital research in Scotland,” said Dr Marilyn Robertson, the executive director of the Edinburgh-based SSCN.
“Stem cell research is tightly regulated in the UK and the SSCN has been actively involved in the debate leading to proposed modifications of the HFEA Act over the past 18 months so this is a result we have been looking for.
“We believe the changes to the Act reflect the need to understand human stem cell biology and to research how the power of stem cells can be harnessed to treat otherwise untreatable diseases.
“It is important not to lose sight of this in the many arguments that are raging.
“This is crucial research that is clearly and most definitely worthwhile.
“In the five years since the SSCN was set up, with public funding, we have brought together scientists, academics, clinicians and businesses to help in the advance of stem cell biology towards new treatments for degenerative diseases.
“We have been bringing together scientists and clinicians in order to improve the rate at which laboratory research translates into therapeutic benefits for patients affected by such devastating conditions as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis and sight loss.
“It is worth remembering that Scotland is at the forefront of ground-breaking advances in stem cell technology and, within the SSCN, we fully understand that ethical and technical issues that can create public distrust, misconceptions and misguided expectations constantly need to be addressed.
“A key objective of the SSCN is to engage with the public as clearly and as fully as possible as Scotland’s established centres of excellence in stem cell technology make progress with research that, hopefully, will lead to clinical reality in the fullness of time.”
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