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Health: Stem Cell Therapy

Volume 691: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is (a) the number of scientists, and (b) the total allocation of public and private funds currently allocated in the United Kingdom for the development of embryonic stem cells and to work on adult stem cells. [HL3274]

Statistics on the allocation of private funds available for the number of scientists involved in embryonic or adult stem cell research are not collected centrally.

In the March 2005 Budget, the Chancellor announced the establishment of the UK Stem Cell Initiative (UKSCI). A task force led by Sir John Pattison developed a vision and costed strategy, covering the period 2006 to 2015, to make the United Kingdom a global leader in stem cell research. The UKSCI report was published in December 2005 and made 11 recommendations. In their response, the Government accepted the recommendations in full. As a result, the Government have allocated an additional £50 million, bringing total investment up to £100 million, for stem cell research between 2006 and 2008.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What hazards to health have been identified in connection with the use of embryonic stem cell therapies; and what therapies are currently available in which embryonic stem cells are being used; and [HL3276]

What hazards to health have been identified in connection with the use of adult stem cells; and what therapies are currently available in which adult stem cells are used. [HL3277]

The UK Stem Cell Initiative report in 2005 summarised experience with the clinical application of stem cell knowledge in areas such as bone marrow transplantation, skin grafting and eye surgery. It also noted the potential concerns over the safety and efficacy of other types of stem cell therapies and recommended specialist research ethics committee oversight of pioneering trials of stem cells. Some stem cell clinical trials will already fall under the remit of the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. Its membership has been strengthened to provide oversight of other relevant stem cell clinical trials and to act as a source of expert advice to researchers and other research ethics committees.