British researchers say cures from embryonic stem-cell research unlikely

.- One week after the European Union voted to approve funding for embryonic stem-cell research through 2013, two leading British scientists say that any potential cures from embryonic stem cell research are many years away, if ever they occur, reported LifeNews. They say media and lawmakers, who want funding for the controversial research, have managed to distort public opinion.

Professor Colin McGuckin, a specialist in regenerative medicine at Newcastle University, says the potential for embryonic stem-cell research to cure diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease had been exaggerated.

He also said funding is being mismanaged. He believes more funds should be directed for resolving basic health problems, such as infectious diseases which are killing millions of people in developing countries, rather than for speculative fields like embryonic stem-cell research.

Dr. Stephen Minger, director of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory at King's College in London, has said people should not have false expectations that these therapies are just around the corner. In fact, he said much more "fundamental research" is needed before embryonic stem cells can ever come close to actually helping patients.

An editorial in the L’Osservatore Romano last week, called the EU decision to approve funding for embryonic stem-cell research “macabre product of a twisted sense of progress.”

Henrick Lesaar, director of legal affairs at the Brussels-based Commission for Catholic Bishops' Conferences in the EU, agrees with the editorial.  

“The funding of stem-cell research with stem-cell lines derived from human embryos will give an incentive to destroy human embryos for the purpose of deriving these stem-cell lines,” he told Vatican Radio. He encouraged European citizens, and Catholics especially, to engage in the public debate and to contact their parliamentarians, underlining the anthropological and the ethical considerations for these kinds of decisions.


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