Skip to main content

Human Embryo Experiments

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many human embryonic stem cell therapies have been developed in the UK; and how many clinical trials to develop such therapies are taking place; (200452)

(2) how many adult stem cell therapies have been developed in the UK; and how many clinical trials to develop such therapies are taking place.

The Department does not collect centrally information on clinical trials. There are advantages and disadvantages to using stem cells from a particular source, and it is still unknown which type will provide the most suitable material for a particular stem cell therapy. For this reason, researchers are continuing to explore the use of the full spectrum of stem cells in the hope of developing new clinical treatments, and this broad approach offers the greatest promise for medical advances.

Currently, stem cells are used in successful, well-tested therapies available in the United Kingdom. They include skin grafting, transplantation of bone marrow or umbilical cord blood stem cells to treat certain cancers and immune system disorders, and the use of stem cells from the eye to treat corneal disorders.

However, we are not aware of any clinical trials involving embryonic stem cells being carried out. One of the reasons is that no clinical grade, human embryonic stem cell-derived cell lines are available for use yet.