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Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2002 Dec;2(8):819-26.

Ethical and regulatory aspects of embryonic stem cell research.

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Jain PharmaBiotech, Blaesiring 7, CH-4057 Basel, Switzerland.


Ethical and regulatory issues concerning embryonic stem (ES) cell research are reviewed here a year after the controversy became a public and political issue in the US. The background of various issues are examined and the current regulations in various countries are reviewed. In the US, the debate is linked with abortion, as well as the status of a fetus as a human being, and is politically driven. Obtaining stem cells from embryonic tissues involves destruction of the embryo, to which objections are raised. Religious beliefs are examined and no serious impediments to ES cell research could be identified. Regulations vary from one country to another and it is unlikely that there will ever be any universally uniform ethical and regulatory standards for ES cell research. Currently, the most liberal and favourable environments for ES cell research are in the UK, Singapore, Sweden, India, Israel and China. Unless the US liberalises ES cell research, it may lose its lead in ES cell research and investments in this area may drift to countries with better environments for research. Suggestions are offered in this review to improve the ethical environment for ES cell research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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