Hacker also took a stand on the issue of ovum donation, which is permitted in some countries. This practice is rejected by the DFG and has nothing to do with the production of embryonic stem cell lines. The debate in Germany is essentially about importing cell lines that have been produced abroad and have already been used for research purposes. Culturing new stem cell lines in Germany is already prohibited by the Embryo Protection Law. The DFG has repeatedly spoken out in favour of keeping the Embryo Protection Law in its current form. In answer to another question, Hacker pointed out that any stem cell lines imported from other countries are also subject to strict assessment. They are required to have originated from embryos that were produced for use in reproductive medicine, but for any one of a number of reasons can no longer be used for that purpose. Here again, no money is allowed to change hands and the couple from whom the cell line originates need to have given their express permission, Hacker added.
On the question of potential therapeutic uses, another topic addressed during the DFG live chat, Hacker said that as a general rule of thumb, it takes about ten to fifteen years for a new form of therapy to be developed in biomedicine. If we assume that the first human embryonic stem cell lines were produced ten years ago, then we are now looking at new therapies becoming available in the medium to long term. He also pointed out, however, that the findings being made in research involving embryonic stem cell lines were also contributing to basic research as well as research aimed at developing new forms of therapy. Without
|Contact: Dr. Eva-Maria Streier|