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Embryology

Volume 712: debated on Monday 29 June 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding has been provided since the beginning of 2008 towards research projects focused on (a) adult stem cells, (b) umbilical cord or cord blood stem cells, (c) embryonic stem cells, and (d) induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. [HL4219]

In 2007-08 the Government provided over £60 million of public funding for stem cell research. £24.7 million of this expenditure focused on research relating to adult stem cells and £14.7 million on embryonic stem cells. A breakdown relating to research involving umbilical cord cells and blood, and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells is not available.

Below is a breakdown of expenditure, by organisation:

2007-08

Adult

Embryonic

Adult/Embryonic

Medical Research Council

£15.7 million

£9.9 million

n/a*

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council**

£5.0 million

£3.5 million

£2.3 million

Technology Strategy Board

£2.0 million

£0.9 million

Department of Health***

£2.0 million

£0.4 million

* The MRC currently provides a breakdown on spend relating to research involving stem cells against the categories of adult and embryonic cells only.

** Total BBSRC spend on stem cell research was approximately £13 million in 2007-08, with the balance of funding accounted for by: generic research where the cell type is not defined. Of the research on adult stem cells, a spend of £665,000 2007-08 related to research on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

*** National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre expenditure. Details of expenditure on stem cell research from the transitional research and development allocations made in 2007-08 to National Health Service organisations is not available.

Confirmed figures are not yet available for 2008-09.

In April 2008 the MRC and BBSRC jointly committed £650,000 to 13 new awards to support the emergence of iPS technology in the UK and provide a platform for future work in this area.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 15 June (HL 172) regarding the separation between researchers and those carrying out a woman's infertility treatment, how different centres have proposed to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that aspects of the clinical and research roles should be separated; and what percentages of those roles are separated in terms of associated work hours or labour costs.[HL4333]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 15 June (HL 172), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is aware of any centres where the person responsible for a research licence or the nominal licensee would be permitted to give medication to or collect eggs from patients undergoing fertility treatment at the same centre; and, if so, at which centres; and to what extent that takes place. [HL4334]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 15 June (HL 172), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is aware of any centres where the clinician seen by a patient is directly engaged in separately licensed research at the same centre with the patient's gametes or embryos; and, if so, at which centres; and to what extent that takes place. [HL4335]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 15 June (HL 172), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is aware of any centres where personnel responsible for laboratory services as part of a patient's fertility treatment are directly engaged in research with the same patient's gametes or embryos, insofar as that does not constitute routine clinical tests; and, if so, at which centres; and to what extent that takes place. [HL4336]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that where donated gametes are used for the purpose of research, the authority's code of practice requires the treatment centre to ensure that aspects of the clinical and research roles are separated, so that individuals involved in advising patients regarding clinical decisions about their licensed treatment are not involved in the research project to which patients are considering donating embryos. The HFEA also advised that while it is for individual centres to decide exactly how they meet these requirements, HFEA's inspectors ensure compliance by discussing these requirements with centre staff.

The HFEA does not hold information in relation to work hours or labour costs. Nor does it hold similar detailed information on the day to day activities of clinical and laboratory staff in the delivery of services.