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Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Monday, 26 July 2010 11:36 UK
Catholic Church grant to aid Bristol stem cell research

Professor Neil Scolding
Neil Scolding says the grant shows 'confidence and optimism' in his work

A Bristol professor has received a grant of £25,000 from Catholic parishioners to help his work into 'ethical stem cell research'.

Professor Neil Scolding of the University of Bristol Institute of Clinical Neurosciences is studying the use of adult stem cells in the battle against multiple sclerosis (MS) at Frenchay Hospital.

Professor Scolding said: "We are absolutely delighted with this splendid contribution to our bone marrow stem cell research programme relating to MS.

"Not only is it an extremely substantial help in funding our work, but an inspiring expression of confidence and optimism in what we are doing.

"We firmly believe that bone marrow cells could have a valuable therapeutic impact on MS.

"Both our clinical trial work and our laboratory research are geared towards exploring, developing and maximising this effect - which we hope in the future will also apply to other neurodegenerative diseases.

"Our immediate aims are to plan and carry out a further larger clinical trial in MS, again using patients' own bone marrow cells.

'Generous donations'

The Catholic Church is against embryonic stem-cell research because it involves the destruction of human embryos but has publically supported adult and umbilical-cord stem-cell research.

Bristol Catholic priest Father Michael McAndrew said: "These grants are the result of generous donations given on the annual Day for Life - £500,000 worth of grants has been distributed nationwide.

"The grants also benefit pregnancy counselling, mental health projects, and dementia sufferers thanks to the donations of Catholic parishioners in Bristol and throughout our diocese."

Day for Life, on 25 July, 'celebrates the dignity of life from conception to natural death'.

You can listen to Professor Scolding talking about his work in a podcast on the Clifton Diocese website.

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