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Submissions on Stem Cell Line Research Ongoing

Media Release

Submissions on Stem Cell Line Research Ongoing

18 May, 2006

The Ministry of Health is considering a number of submissions on it's discussion document - Guidelines on Using Cells from Established Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines for Research.

The discussion document, released for public consultation late last year, attracted around a hundred submissions.

Dr Sandy Dawson, the Ministry of Health's Chief Clinical Advisor says the Ministry welcomes the submissions, including a number of people who came to speak to their submissions yesterday.

"Human embryonic stem cell lines are available internationally and their potential value in research is increasingly recognised. The Ministry's proposed guidelines are intended to provide an ethical framework for use by ethics committees considering research proposals that would require the importation and use of these stem cell lines.

"The guidelines also provide clarity for researchers and the public", says Sandy Dawson.

"The Ministry recognises that the use of human embryonic stem cell lines for research raises ethical, spiritual and cultural issues for most people. We have received a diverse range of views on its discussion document and proposed guidelines."

Currently, any research being carried out involving human embryos is controlled by the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004, but this does not cover the use of existing embryonic stem cell lines for non-reproductive research.

The Ministry will report to the Minister of Health on the consultation and guidelines in June. If the guidelines are approved, they will remain in place until the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology has undertaken comprehensive consultation on embryo research.


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