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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
Gene therapy 'to be expanded'
DNA strand
The technique is controversial
The government is expected to announce a big increase in funding for research into gene therapy.

Health Secretary John Reid is also expected to outline new safeguards on the use of DNA in a statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Advances in gene therapy offer the possibility of better treatment for a range of illnesses, including cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer's.

Mr Reid is expected to announce extra funding for research, with more NHS staff working in this field.

But there are concerns too, particularly over the development of genetic testing.

Theft safeguard

There are likely to be new safeguards on the use of an individual's DNA - their personal genetic code - by employers, insurers and doctors.

It is thought the theft of DNA, for example by taking strands of hair or saliva, will be made an offence.

Mr Reid is expected to argue developments in genetics will reinforce the importance of the NHS, as a safety net for people who are likely to need expensive treatment in the future.

But some campaigners doubt the government's resolve to provide effective safeguards against discrimination.




SEE ALSO:
Gene therapy 'causes leukaemia'
01 Jun 03  |  Health
Mouse clues to human genetics
04 Dec 02  |  Science/Nature


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