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Contributors: Douglas McIntyre Jon C. Ogg

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stem Cell Research & Cloning Get Some Potential Fresh Air


There are some fresh developments that can affect the prices of stocks that would benefit from additional uses and additional applications for stem cell research, and these new developments may in fact lift certain cloning bans under some pre-set conditions. While these initiatives are overseas, they are un the UK and in Australia.

Stem cell stocks up on lift of cloning ban in certain studies:
Stemcells inc.-STEM
Geron-GERN Aastrom Bio-ASTM

Scientists in the United Kingdom have applied for a license to create hybrid embryos that use human cells and animal eggs for stem cell research. Some of the targeted areas will be to develop new treatments for Parkinson's, stroke and Alzheimer's. Kings College London and the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) submitted the application to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the regulatory body that regulates and supervises embryo research and fertility treatment. The proposed hybrid embryo will be 99.9 percent human and 0.1 percent animal, which may overcome a shortage of human eggs left over from IVF treatments, which have been used for stem cell research.

Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, has allowed a vote on the controversial issue of lifting a cloning ban for stem celll research. The initial senate vote Tuesday a private members' bill seeking to legalise therapeutic cloning won by 34 votes to 31 before the senate moved to discussion of proposed amendments. This would allow researchers to clone human embryos to extract their stem cells for disease treatment, although cloned embryos would have to be destroyed within 14 days and could not be implanted in a woman. Existing laws allow stem cells to be harvested only from surplus IVF embryos.

Stem cell research has also, of course, been one of the issues in the U.S., and the elections today could be influential on the forward direction of stem cell research uses in the U.S. While that holds true in the US, cloning measures have raised far more controversy than stem cell research, so if you combine the two you will definitely be wanting a Congressional regime change today.

Jon C. Ogg
November 7, 2006

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