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ERMA decision blow to multiple sclerosis sufferers

Media Release

ERMA decision will be a blow to
multiple sclerosis sufferers

Wednesday 24 November, 1999

Today’s decision of the Environmental Risk Management Authority will be a blow to many New Zealanders suffering from multiple sclerosis, said Dr William Rolleston, the interim Chairman of the New Zealand Life Sciences Network.

The Authority has adjourned consideration of an application from AgResearch which sought to introduce a human gene into cows milk for the possible development of a new treatment for multiple sclerosis. ERMA is seeking further information.

“No indication has been given by ERMA when it will reopen this matter. In the meantime thousands of New Zealand sufferers of this degenerative condition will continue to have their hopes of a treatment frustrated,” said Dr Rolleston.

“Genetic modification has the potential to deliver major health benefits to the world. The Life Sciences Network hopes that ERMA can work through the issues which are stalling the commencement of this vital piece of research.

“Life Sciences Network members are meeting next week and will consider what assistance we may be able to give to ERMA to ensure the questions which remain for the authority are quickly addressed to enable the research approval to be granted.

“If New Zealand does not allow this research to proceed it will add further weight to the pressure on scientists to go overseas to complete their research in more friendly environments. That will be a major social and economic loss to the country as a whole,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

For further information contact:
Dr William Rolleston
Interim Chairman
NZ Life Sciences Network
Ph (03) 612 6688

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