Pro-life charity LIFE, has criticised the conclusions of a study into embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines that appears in The Lancet today supporting the establishment of ESC banks in this country. Researchers from Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, studied the blood group and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) types of 10,000 organ donors for their compatibility to 6,577 patients registered on the UK kidney-transplant waiting list. They found that 150 blood group compatible donors, 100 blood group O donors, or ten highly selected donors that have the genetic make-up for HLA types common in the recipient population could provide maximum benefit for HLA matching, crucial to effective stem cell treatments. LIFE spokesman Matthew O'Gorman said: "This study distracts attention from the enormous problems that scientists are facing with ESC research. Leading researchers in the field, such as Dr Gerald Schatten (University of Pittsburgh) acknowledge that there is no immediate potential for treatments or guarantee that there ever will be. While being ineffective, ESC research involves destructive experiments on tiny human beings, that is why it has been outlawed in the majority of countries worldwide. Medical researchers have a responsibility to be honest and accurate when presenting their conclusions. The UK stem cell debate is obscured by hype which only serves to raise false hope among desperate patients. The study of embryonic stem cell lines has not produced one single treatment or therapy for disability. In contrast, adult stem cells (ASCs) are being used in over 60 treatments worldwide . ASCs are quite literally making the blind see and the lame walk. If treating disabled people is the priority, rather than an unprincipled quest for prestige then we should end research that destroys human life and invest in ASC research instead." For more information see: www.stemcellresearch.org
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