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Defending life
from conception to natural death


28 September 2004

28 September 2004

28 September 2004 Professor Ian Wilmut, one of the scientists who cloned Dolly the Sheep, has applied for a licence to clone human embryos. Professor Wilmut of the Roslin Instititue in Edinburgh has emphasised the fact that his team wants to use embryos for research purposes only and will destroy them after experimentation. [Sky News, 28 September ] When the news first came to light, Paul Tully SPUC's general secretary commented: "What Dr Wilmut is effectively calling for is the genetic engineering of human beings, involving the deliberate and calculated destruction of human embryos. It was irresponsible of a respected scientist to support publicly a proposal that is profoundly unethical on so many levels." [SPUC source] Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has reported the discovery of a 'master gene' Foxa2 which plays a key role in lung development. Dr Jeffrey Whitsett, of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre who led the study said: "The discovery of this gene and understanding of how it works could lead to new treatments for premature infants and for children and adults who suffer from lung disease or injury." [icWales, 28 September ] The parents of a premature baby who are fighting to stop doctors withholding treatment have won the right to a public hearing. Charlotte Wyatt was born three months premature and doctors are seeking permission not to re-ventilate her if her condition deteriorates, saying that she cannot survive beyond infancy. Mr. Justice Hedley argued that the case had already received media attention and that an open debate was in the public interest. [The Telegraph, 28 August ] A study published in Nature Medicine has shown that marijuana use may increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. The team at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre used mouse models to examine the affects of marijuana on the CB1 receptor which regulates muscle contraction to move the embryo down the oviduct. The researchers concluded that the results "raise caution for women of reproductive age regarding the chronic use of marijuana for recreation or pain alleviation." [Medical News Today, 27 September ] A nurse has been charged with three counts of murder following the deaths of three elderly women at Airedale General Hospital in West Yorkshire. Ann Grigg-Booth has also been charged with the attempted murder of a 42-year-old man and with 13 charges of administering noxious substances to patients. Three other people were arrested in connection with the investigation earlier in the year and are currently on police bail. [The Scotsman, 28 September ] A woman has been arrested after admitting to police that her son died as a result of assisted suicide. Charles Fariala, 36, a playwright who had multiple sclerosis, was found dead in his home after his mother alerted police. [, 27 September ]

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