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China a rising star in regenerative medicine despite world skepticism of stem cell therapies
Date:1/7/2010

tem cells for clinical applications.

Therapeutic cloning is allowed, as is the use of surplus embryos or discarded fetal cells from abortions as well as embryos created with artificial help.

"What sets China apart from most of the rest of the world is that these regulations do not prohibit the fusion of human genetic material with nonhuman oocytes (cells from which an egg or ovum develops)," the MRC authors say.

As well, the rules for embryonic stem cell research in China are criticized internationally as having limited authority over researchers because they are not legally binding. Adherence is enforced only for those who receive government funding, which applies to most researchers, but financially independent researchers or hospitals must simply answer to their own institution's ethical review board.

MRC authors say that while there is no indication embryonic stem cell research rules are being broken, greater regulatory oversight would help ease international concerns.

Interviewees agreed that regulation enforcement is a key concern. According to one, a lack of inspection capacity cast doubt on regulatory implementation.

Huge Chinese investment in RM

Chinese data show the country now generates 400,000 graduates in science and medicine each year and recruits many high caliber scientists from abroad.

Chinas gross domestic expenditure on R&D in science and technology has grown from $5.9 billion in 1996 to $44 billion today. Stem cell research, tissue engineering and gene therapy are key areas receiving priority funding, largely centralized in the universities, hospitals and research institutes of China's main urban centers, especially Beijing and Shanghai.

Approximately 78% of China's R&D funding in RM is reserved for product development, with an additional 16.8% for applied research. And China has developed large primate colonies for preclinical testing, and begun clinic
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy,McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert

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