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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 August 2003

11 August 2003

11 August 2003 A UK government health watchdog has recommended making IVF treatment available free on the National Health Service. In draft guidance produced by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), it was suggested that women under-40 should be offered up to 6 IVF cycles, proposals which could cost the already embattled NHS up to £400 million a year. [The Guardian, 10 August ] SPUC spokesman Anthony Ozimic commented: "It must be remembered that IVF is a very unsuccessful way of treating infertility and the desire of scientists to obtain human embryos to experiment upon has resulted in the sidelining of other, more successful forms of infertility treatment which don't involve destructive embryo techniques. Health care resources should prioritise ethical and successful ways of helping childless couples - ways which don't involve wasting and degrading human life." [SPUC press release, 9 August ] IVF pioneer Robert Edwards has warned that the birth of a cloned baby may be closer than many believe, The Telegraph reports. A report published in the journal Professor Edwards edits, describes the creation of a cloned human embryo that reached the 8-10 cell stage. However, it has been criticised for not containing substantial enough information to reach valid conclusions. [The Telegraph, 11 August ] Researchers at Cambridge University believe that premature ageing in cloned animals is caused by damage to the genetic mechanism that allows animals to grow normally. The research comes shortly after the birth of the world's first successfully cloned horse. [ABC.net, 11 August ] A doctor from Osaka, Japan, has been charged with the alleged mercy killing of a cancer patient in 1995. The doctor reportedly told police that he injected the 46-year-old man with potassium chloride to end his and his family's suffering. The hospital was tipped off about the death via an anonymous letter. Police have said that the doctor could not have known whether the patient was in pain because he was unconscious and could have relieved his pain through morphine injections. The doctor has apparently expressed regret about his actions. [Daily Yomiuri, 8 August ] A study by researchers in Boston has become the latest to suggest that adult stem cells can be successfully used to regenerate heart muscle cells. Dr Victor Dzau and his team from Brigham and Women's Hospital injected rats who had suffered heart attacks with engineered bone marrow cells, restoring between 80% and 90% of the heart's volume. [BBC, 11 August ]

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