Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Scientists Can Create Cow-Human Embryos to Treat Alzheimer's

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Scientists Can Create Cow-Human Embryos to Treat Alzheimer's

Article excerpt

Byline: AMY IGGULDEN

LONDON scientists got the go-ahead today to create embryos that are parthuman, part cow.

King's College will now fuse eggs from the animal with human skin cells.

Researchers hope to make an "unlimited" source of stem cells, which theybelieve could be used to help find cures for diseases including Parkinson's,Alzheimer's and leukaemia.

Ethics watchdog the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority allowed theresearch despite opposition from "pro-life" groups. It said the benefitsoutweighed the risks and the public was at ease with the idea.

The embryos will be more than 99 per cent human. They must be destroyed after14 days to ensure there is no chance that one is implanted in a human womb.

Researchers have been waiting to start work since November 2006 but thedecision was delayed amid calls for a public consultation. A parallel projectwill start at Newcastle University.

Dr Stephen Minger, who will run the King's College project, said: "After a yearand a half [the watchdog] has realised the importance of the work." Opponentspledged to go to the courts.

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of UnbornChildren, said: "This represents a disastrous setback for human dignity. The ormuscular dystrophy. The list is endless." The HFEA said: "The two applicationssatisfied all the requirements of the law. We have now offered one-yearresearch licences to the two applicants, subject to a series of detailedconditions in each case." Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, head of stem cellbiology at the National Institute for Medical Research, said: "The HFEA hasbeen delaying this decision for months because they have been nervous of publicreaction. It is a great relief that they have finally said yes."

Q&A

What is a hybrid?

Scientists transfer DNA from human cells - such as skin cellsinto animal eggs that have had almost all genetic information removed. The morethan per cent human embryo would be grown in the lab for a few days, thenharvested for stem cells that can become many types of tissue.

Why use animal eggs? …

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