September 25, 2022

Australian stem cell regulations given OK

Australian stem cell researchers can press on with destructive research on human embryos, says a government review committee.

 

Australian stem cell researchers can press on
with destructive research on human embryos, says a government review
committee
. According to controversial legislation passed in 2002, the
act must be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is scientifically up to date and
in keeping with community standards. The current framework allows Australian researchers
to use human embryos to create stem cells in licensed research projects. On a number
of important issues, the five-member committees appears to have split 3-2, but the
result was a thumbs-up for the existing regulations. 

Dr Megan Munsie,
of the recently defunct Australian Stem Cell Centre, welcomed the decision. “All
stem cell types and research approaches should be actively pursued because it is
not yet clear which type of stem cells will be most suitable,” she said. “The current
Australian regulation allows researchers to fully explore all of the different types
of stem cells and their potential.”

The ASCC’s funding was cut off on June 30. Professor Martin
Pera
leads a successor organisation, “Stem Cells Australia”. He also
emphasised the importance of ESCs as a gold standard. “Embryonic stem cells remain
the benchmark for research in this field, and in the next decade, critical advances
may depend on our ability to develop new cell lines from embryos.”

However, one of the members of the committee,
Kevin McGovern, a priest ethicist, questioned a number of the conclusions. According
to the committee’s report, he described the benefits of therapeutic cloning (aka
somatic cell nuclear transfer) as “mostly theoretical” and asked “whether the ethical
concerns about [this] research are ultimately being given anything more than lip-service”.
~ ScienceInsider,
July 8

Michael Cook
Australia
stem cells