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Labour head-in-sand over xenotransplantation

Labour’s head-in-sand attitude to xenotransplantation

Labour has once again demonstrated its anti-science colours by extending the moratorium on xenotransplantation until December 2006, says National’s Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

Xenotransplantation in human medicine means using living non-human animal cells, tissues or organs to treat humans.

Last week the head of the Health Research Council, Dr Bruce Scoggins, noted there was important promise for using xenotransplantation techniques.

The Labour Government stopped a New Zealand company, Diatranz, from having their application for a technique to potentially cure Type 1 diabetes heard. The company was forced overseas.

A top New Zealand lawyer, Mai Chen, described this action by Labour as a “constitutional outrage”.

“Labour claims that biotechnology is one of three main drivers of growth in their innovation strategy and yet they have created some of the most onerous hurdles to carrying out research in biotechnology in any Western country,” says Dr Hutchison.

“Labour’s own biotechnology taskforce says the regulatory regime must be fixed. This has led to scientists and their work going overseas, and is a tragedy for science and research in this country.

“It is important to allow applications to go through the approval process based on scientific evidence and judged on merit.

“Labour’s extension of the moratorium is the head in the sand actions of a Government that does the opposite of its rhetoric.

“Labour’s action will not only hold up medical science and research in New Zealand, but also imposes nonsensical hurdles over the biotechnology industry as a whole,” says Dr Hutchison.


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