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European Biopharmaceutical Review

UK and European Legislation on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Embryonic stem cell research carries enormous potential in the search for cures for many of the world's diseases, but this potential must be balanced against the need to regulate science in order to keep progress within ethical, political and socially acceptable boundaries. This article examines the current state of legislation in the UK and Europe surrounding embryonic stem cell research and highlights key areas of potential for medical breakthroughs. Continued research in this field has enormous potential to discover treatments for patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even spinal cord injuries, and it is because of this potential that at the end of 2000 and the beginning of this year, both UK Houses of Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing such research to be conducted. Earlier this year scientists successfully propagated stem cells into specialised parts of the human pancreas responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. This breakthrough holds the possibility of effective treatment for millions of diabetics throughout the world and demonstrates the importance of supporting further research.


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By Crispin Kirkman, Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association (BIA)

Crispin Kirkman joined the BIA as Chief Executive in June 2000. A former Chief Executive of Berkshire Health Authority, and previously South West Surrey Health Authority, Crispin has many years' experience of strategic leadership in the health care sector, working in the UK's Health Service, managing hospitals and community services. An advocate of partnership with pharmaceuticals and other health care suppliers, he has also led high profile campaigns for public acceptance of innovation and change in various aspects of health care management.
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Crispin Kirkman
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