UK’s first legal human clones on the way</b>

Dr Miodrag Stojkovic Amidst bitter controversy, the UK's fertility medicine watchdog is preparing to approve the nation's first human clones. A Serbian scientist at Newcastle University who left Munich because of Germany's ban on embryonic stem cell research has lodged an application with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to clone embryos for diabetes research. In the course of the experiment, Dr Miodrag Stojkovic (pictured, right) will create embryos using leftover eggs from IVF treatment and then destroy them for their stem cells.

When news of the proposed experiment broke, arguments for and against… click here to read whole article and make comments

Steep fee rises mooted for embryo research in UK</b>

The fee for a government licence to conduct research on embryos in the UK could soar from ?200 to ?6,000 because of Treasury cost-recovery rules. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority says that "researchers must bear a more realistic licence fee to meet the costs of regulating human embryo research". A ?6,000 flat fee is one of three options -- but all of them involve steep increases.

The move provoked strident protests from scientists who insisted that the additional costs would destroy research in areas where the UK is currently strong. Professor Neil McClure, of Queens University Belfast, told a… click here to read whole article and make comments

Arab states may ban both types of cloning</b>

Legal experts from the Arab League have hammered out a consensus on cloning which would lead to laws banning both reproductive and research cloning. At the moment there is a legal vacuum in the Arab world on cloning. An Arab treaty will probably be approved before the UN re-opens its discussion of a global treaty on cloning next year -- and could influence its outcome.

Several Muslim groups oppose cloning. "The international community should stand up to the heresy of... human cloning which... violates divine laws," says Muslim World League secretary-general Abdullah bin Adbul Mohsen Al-Turki. Muslim doctors have also… click here to read whole article and make comments

Democrats’ presidential hopeful backs embryo stem cell research</b>

Senator John Kerry, the Democrats' all-but-endorsed candidate for president, says that he would overturn George W. Bush's ban on expanding federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells. Recalling that heart transplants had once been ethically contentious, Senator Kerry said, "the medical discoveries that come form stem cells are crucial next steps in humanity's uphill climb... Part of this nation's greatness lies in the fact that we have led the world in great medical discoveries, with our breakthroughs and our beliefs going hand in hand." However, despite pressure from Congress, various lobby groups and former first lady Nancy Reagan, President… click here to read whole article and make comments

Before the Holocaust, some Israeli doctors supported eugenics</b>

Early Zionist thinker Max Nordau Research by an Israeli PhD student has exposed the eugenic plans of a number of Jewish doctors and Zionist thinkers before World War II. According to Dr Sachlav Stoler-Liss of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, some of Israel's founding fathers proposed castrating the mentally ill, sterilising the poor, limiting the size of "families of Eastern origin" and "preventing... lives that are lacking in purpose".

"Eugenics is considered to be something that only happened in Germany," says Dr Stoler-Liss. "Germany was indeed the most murderous manifestation of eugenics, but… click here to read whole article and make comments

It’s payback time for lawyers, says US doctor</b>

A doctor fed up with medical liability cases created a public relations nightmare for his colleagues in the American Medical Association when he proposed that doctors should be able to ethically deny medical treatment to trial lawyers and their spouses.

Dr J. Chris Hawk II, a surgeon from South Carolina, said that his proposal was just a "wake-up call" and withdrew it after it had circulated for two weeks. But other AMA members were outraged. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr John Cletcher said that the first rule of medicine was "do no harm" -- and, he complained, "this resolution has done a… click here to read whole article and make comments

Animal stem cell tests could lead to bonanza</b>

Tests for liver damage using animal stem cells from animals could be worth "several hundred million pounds", says a Scottish biotech company. CXR Biosciences, of Dundee, has teamed up with Edinburgh's Roslin Institute and the US company Geron to create tests which would make it unnecessary to carry out liver damage tests on animals. The liver is responsible for about 60%of all drug test problems. click here to read whole article and make comments

Many journal articles skewed toward positive results</b>

Articles in medical journals may be biased towards positive results, calling into question many "miracle drugs" and breakthrough developments, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Many scientists cherry-pick favourable results; others change direction when interesting results emerge. Many researchers change their main objectives in the course of research, violating basic guidelines for good research.

Dr An-Wen Chen, of Oxford University, analysed 102 trials and found that researchers had failed to report almost two-thirds of results relating to potentially harmful outcomes.

Mounting concern about the influence of drug companies upon researchers has prompted closer scrutiny of research methods… click here to read whole article and make comments

Stem cell battle over Reagan’s Alzheimer’s death</b>

Nancy Reagan kisses the casket containing the remains of her husband, Ronald Reagan , at the Capitol rotunda shortly before he was taken away for a state funeral ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.(AFP/Roberto Schmidt) Even in death, former US President Ronald Reagan is a flashpoint for controversy. Across the nation, editorial writers and columnists used his 10-year battle with Alzheimer's to urge his successor, George W. Bush, to fund embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. Abortion politics should not prolong the suffering of millions of Americans, mused USA Today: "Freeing researchers from… click here to read whole article and make comments

Nitschke cooks up “peaceful pill” in his kitchen</b>

Dr Philip Nitschke (from EXIT Australia website) Dr Philip Nitschke and some of his supporters have developed a lethal pill which can be manufactured at home with household ingredients. He says that details of the "peaceful pill" will be made available to members of EXIT Australia, the euthanasia group he founded. EXIT has about 3000 members with an average age of 75. "All the emphasis has gone into making a process which is straightforward enough that any competent person with reasonable ability and an average kitchen could easily manufacture it themselves," he told The… click here to read whole article and make comments

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