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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 December, 2004, 09:06 GMT
Embryonic stem cell therapy: facts behind the fiction
All the drama-documentaries in the IF series are based on rigorous journalism and research.

Here are just some facts surrounding the issues of embryonic stem cell therapy.

  • IF... CLONING COULD CURE US
    BBC Two
    Thursday, 16 December, 2004
    2100 GMT

    Human embryos were cloned for the first time ever in February this year. The work was done by scientists in South Korea.

  • In August, a team at Newcastle University was granted a licence to clone human embryos for research purposes. Pro-life campaigners have applied for a judicial review of the decision.

  • The team that cloned Dolly the Sheep has also applied for a research licence to clone human embryos to find a cure for motor neurone disease.

  • The UN has shelved efforts to draft a treaty banning all forms of therapeutic and reproductive cloning. An earlier attempt to enact a ban failed by just one vote.

  • Stem cell research was one of the hottest issues in the US elections. President George W Bush has limited the levels of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

  • Supporters of embryonic stem cell research in the US include Nancy Reagan, Michael J Fox, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and the late Christopher Reeve.

  • Maverick scientist Dr Panos Zavos - the man who claimed he made a woman pregnant with a cloned embryo - plans to open a clinic in London. He will send women abroad for treatment that would be illegal in the UK.

  • The first cloned cat was created this year - by Californian company Genetic Savings and Clone.

  • UK law in this area is in the middle of a thorough overhaul. The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee is due to make its recommendations early in the new year.

  • At present, it is illegal to pay more than expenses for egg donation in the UK. But the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has started a public consultation on whether women should be paid up to 1,000 for egg donation.


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