British Scientist Abandons England, Criticizes Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 23, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Scientist Abandons England, Criticizes Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 23
, 2008

London, England ( — Just one day after the House of Commons in the UK approved a bill that would allow hybrid human cloning combining animal and human DNA, a leading British scientists says he’s headed for France to conduct research because the nation is too focused on embryonic stem cell research.

Colin McGuckin, a professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and expert on the use of adult stem cells, says Britain’s priorities are out of whack.

While the British government is pushing cloning and embryonic stem cells McGuckin says adult stem cells are the ones paying dividends for patients.

According to the Times Higher Education publication, McGuckin will take a position at the University of Lyon in January and bring along with him a 10-member research team, including fellow scientist Nico Forraz.

There, McGuckin and his crew will open one of the largest institutes devoted to adult stem cells and cord blood cells in the world.

"The bottom line is my vocation is to work with patients and help patients and unfortunately I can’t do that in the UK," he told the Times. He said France provides a "much better environment" to cure patients and further his work.

"(France) is very supportive of adult stem cells because they know that these are the things that are in the clinic right now and will be more likely in the clinic," he added. "A vast amount of money in the UK from the Government has gone into embryonic stem-cell research with not one patient having being treated, to the detriment of (research into) adult stem cells, which has been severely underfunded."

Dr. David Prentice, a biologist and fellow at the Family Research Council, told that McGuckin’s leaving the UK is yet another example of how embryonic stem cells are given a misplaced priority.

"This story sadly illustrates how the hype surrounding embryonic stem cells, cloning, and other unethical research has pushed aside the reality of adult stem cells," he said.

"Dr. McGuckin has made great advances using cord blood stem cells, including actual patient treatments as well as growing liver tissue from cord blood stem cells. But the U.K. government, beguiled by the scientists that simply want to experiment on
human embryos, has ignored my friend’s results as well as the patients," Prentice said.

Prentice concluded: "Newcastle is losing one of the few research programs that is producing real, useful results and one of the few ethical projects that don’t destroy human life. France is the real winner here, and their medical program will benefit tremendously."

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