Government pledges cash for stem cell research

The government has announced that an extra £50 million will be made available for UK stem cell research over the next two years.

The announcement followed the publication of the UK Stem Cell Initiative report, which has recommended that that the government should invest at least £350 million in the research over the next decade.

Stem cells are the body’s ‘master’ cells, which can develop into different kinds of tissues. It is hoped that the cells could eventually be used to treat a variety of diseases, many of which are currently incurable.

The government has welcomed the recommendations in the report and said it would accept them, although it has not announced any specific long-term funding pledges.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced plans to take forward a new public-private consortium to enhance drug discovery and development at the Advancing Enterprise conference. Mr Brown said: “Britain should be the world’s number one centre for genetic and stem cell research building on our world leading regulatory regime in this area.”

Health Minister Jane Kennedy said: “It is important we continue our long-term commitment to stem cells. They have the potential to help millions of people and could lead to new treatments for serious diseases for which there is currently no cure."

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury said: "The UK is a world leader on stem cell research and governance. The UK Stem Cell Initiative has provided strong recommendations that government will build on to maintain our world leading position in the future.”


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