IN BRIEF: Danish IVF ~ European palliative care ~ Terri Schiavo</b>

  • The latest figures from Denmark show that 5 per cent of births, or one child in 20, are the result of in vitro fertilisation. MORE


    BioEdge will not be published on July 30 and August 6. The next issue will be August 13.

    UK gives thumbs up to "saviour siblings"

    The UK fertility watchdog has given a green light to the creation of "saviour siblings" -- genetically matched babies created with IVF to save the life of a seriously ill brother or sister. The decision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority comes after hard lobbying by some IVF doctors. The British Medical Association welcomed the decision, saying that "if the technology to help a dying… MORE

    Japan approves human cloning for research</b>

    The Japanese Government's top science council has approved limited cloning of human embryos for scientific research. The clones cannot be used for treating human patients. A cabinet council on science and technology policy headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will now ask ministries to propose specific guidelines. AP, Jul 24   

    South African doctors charged in organ trade

    A senior South African nephrologist, Dr Jeff Kallmeyer, is on trial in Durban for participating in an organ trafficking scheme. Police say that hundreds of transplants took place in two hospitals owned by the Netcare group, with most of them… MORE

    Stem cells become US election issue</b>

    Politics continues to invade the American stem cell debate. Ron Reagan Jr, the son of the late president who has become a Republican legend, is to address this week's Democratic convention in Boston where he will argue that limits on stem cell research should be relaxed. "My main point is that this is above politics and that this is an almost magical moment in medical history," said Mr Reagan, a former radio talk show host who is now a liberal political pundit. MORE

    Trounson wants to create artificial eggs and sperm</b>

    Prof Alan Trounson (The Lancet) Controversial human embryonic stem cell expert Alan Trounson, of Monash University in Melbourne, is looking at the possibility of ending infertility by creating eggs and sperm from stem cells. In a profile in The Lancet, he says, "They could be used to repopulate exhausted supplies of gametes. We are also studying the genes responsible for recruiting eggs from the primary germ-cell population. We may be able to extend the reproductive life of women by manipulating these genes or their products. And we could potentially make new sperm for anyone… MORE

    Sydney stem cell commercialisation seminar promises answers</b>

    The New South Wales Stem Cell Network is to hold a public seminar on the commercialisation of stem cell research. Professor Robert Jansen, who recently received Australia's first licence to create human embryonic stem cell lines, will speak on profit opportunities. Other speakers will discuss opportunities for adult stem cell business and legal issues about patenting stem cell research. For further information, contact or Dr Daniella Goldberg at MORE

    Second thoughts on abortion in UK and Australia</b>

    Abortion is back on the government's agenda in the UK. The London Times has reported that Prime Minister Tony Blair has backed a rethink of the law to take account of scientific change. The shift in the political climate has been prompted by the stunning colour video clips of babies smiling and walking in the womb created by obstetrician Professor Stuart Campbell. British MPs are beginning to realise that foetuses are viable at 22 weeks, even though the legal time limit for abortion is 24 weeks. As well, a powerful documentary, My Fetus, made by the pro-choice daughter of the… MORE

    Rich countries looking after number one in public health</b>

    The preoccupation of rich countries with threats to their own health is crippling efforts to care for easy-to-cure diseases in poor countries, says a tropical disease expert in The Lancet. David Molyneux, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, outlines how interest in "the big 3" infectious diseases -- HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria -- is obstructing public-health initiatives to tackle preventable diseases such as the viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections of the tropics, and acute respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases of children.

    Professor Molyneux comments: "The emphasis on the big three killers and… MORE

    ODD SPOT: IVF becomes reality TV gimmick

    In what its critics have termed the "sickest ever reality show", a British production company is planning a sperm race in which a human egg is fertilised live on television. In "Make Me a Mum", a woman will take fertility drugs to produce eggs and 1,000 men will compete for the privilege of having their sperm selected. The sperm of two finalists -- a man selected by the mum-to-be on the basis of sex appeal, wealth, fitness and personality and a man selected by scientific experts -- will race to create a baby.

    The production company, Brighter Pictures, is… MORE

    IN BRIEF: Chinese stem cells ~ HFEA reorganisation</b>

  • A doctor in Beijing has treated hundreds of patients with spinal damage with mucosal cells from an aborted foetus's nose in a procedure whose safety and effectiveness have not been verified. Nine Japanese with damaged spinal cords have travelled to the Capital Medical College in Beijing for treatment by Dr Huang Hongyun, according to the Japan Spinal Cord Foundation. MORE

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