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Front page. Fiona Fox Director. Case study - the battle for human-animal hybrid embryos. 15 August 2005 Chimeras Background Briefing. Science Media Centre Background Briefing What? Chimeras When? 10.30am, 15 th August 2005 Where? Science Media Centre, 19 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BS

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Front page

Fiona Fox

Director


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Case study

- the battle for human-animal hybrid embryos


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15 August 2005

Chimeras

Background Briefing


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Science Media Centre Background Briefing

What? Chimeras

When? 10.30am, 15th August 2005

Where? Science Media Centre, 19 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BS

In the UK stem cell researchers have a growing interest in chimeras as they may help them to understand the functions of stem cells and speed the development of stem cell therapies. The UK scientific and medical communities will face tough decisions in the future about how far to go with this research and will have to consider ethical issues about what makes us human. The Science Media Centre has brought together leading scientists in genetics and stem cell research to brief the press on these issues.

Speakers are:

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Head of Developmental Genetics, MRC National Institute for Medical Research

Dr Stephen Minger, Stem cell biologist, Kings College London

Professor Anne McLaren, Gurdon Insitute, Cambridge University


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Tim RadfordGuardian

Tom FeildenToday

RogerHighfieldTelegraph

Ian TaylorScience

Steve ConnorIndependent

John Von RadowitzPA

Mark HendersonTimes

Rachel BuchananBBC

Michelle RobertsBBC Online

Zoe SmeatonBBC Online

Fiona MacRaeMail

Rowan HooperNew Scientist

Marina MurphyChemistry & Industry

Journalists

attending


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December 2005

Investigation exposes serious fraud and ethical lapses in Hwang stem cell paper


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12 January 2006

Hwang Investigation

Background Briefing


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Science Media Centre Background Briefing

What? The impact of Hwang investigation findings on UK cloning research

When? 10.00am, Thursday 12th January 2006

Where? Science Media Centre, 19 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BS

As investigations from South Korea confirm the scientific community’s worst fears about the level of fraudulent data from Hwang’s team, the SMC has responded to the media’s requests for a background briefing about the impact of the crisis on cloning research.

Scientists available to answer questions include:

Alison Murdoch -granted first license in UK to do cloning research, Newcastle University and International Centre for Life

Stephen Minger – Director of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory at King's College London

Chris Shaw – Kings College and joint holder of cloning license with Ian Wilmut

Robin Lovell-Badge – Head of genetics at the MRC’s National Institute for Medical Research

Anne McLaren – Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, Cambridge University


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Ania Lichtarowicz BBC Worldservice

Pat Reaney Reuters

Ian SampleThe Guardian

Mark HendersonTimes

Roger HighfieldTelegraph

Tom FieldenBBC Today

Rachel BuchannanBBC 10 O'clock News

Tom MooreSky News

Andy CoghlanNew Scientist

John Von RadowitzPA

Clive CooksonFT

Caroline RyanBBC News Online

Julie WheldonDaily Mail

Roland PeaseBBC

Michael SchriberScience Magazine

Julian RushChannel 4 News

Ruth FrancisNature

Journalists

attending


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Stem cell researchers plan to create rabbit-human embryos

Roger Highfield, Telegraph

Coverage

13 January

Times

Daily Mail

Telegraph

Scotsman

Independent

Reuters – gone to Australia and USA as well

Guardian

Evening Standard

Also has made it to India and China

Clone team want to grow human cells in rabbit eggs

Julie Wheldon, Daily Mail

British scientists plan work on human-rabbit embryos

Mark Henderson, Times

Rabbit eggs may be used for stem-cell research

Steve Connor, Independent


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Media interest continued

- not all of it good


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Daily Star – 6 October 2006

FRANKENBUNNY; Coming soon to a lab near you:BYLINE: by OLIVIA MATTHEWSSECTION: NEWS; 19LENGTH: 340 wordsHIDE those carrots - British scientists are on the brink of creating a bunny monster.

They are pressing ahead with a Frankenstein-style experiment to mix human and rabbit genes.

And it is feared the end result could be similar to the crazed vegetablemunching creature in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit.

Lab teams in London, Newcastle and Edinburgh are due to make applications this month for permission to carry out the controversial work as part of their stem cell research programmes.


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Evening Standard – 6 October 2006

Scientists bid to create the Frankenbunny; human cells to be fused with rabbit eggBYLINE: MARK PRIGGSECTION: LL 04; Pg. 6LENGTH: 323 words

SCIENTISTS are planning to fuse human cells with a rabbit egg to create a "frankenbunny".

The "chimeric" embryo, which would be 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent rabbit, could lead to breakthroughs in stem cell research, helping to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's.

It would allow scientists to perfect stem cell creation techniques without using human eggs.

Chris Shaw, a neuroscientist at the Institute of Psychiatry who is working on the project, said: "If we learn how to do this with animal eggs, we should be able to have more success with human eggs and I'd much rather know that if we were going to ask women to donate eggs that we were very likely to get stem cells as a result.


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December 2006

Government threatens to ban research using human-animal hybrid embryos


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4 January 2007

Scientists speak out on HFEA threat to UK stem cell research

Emergency Press Briefing


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Speakers

Prof Ian WilmutUniversity of Edinburgh

Dr Lyle ArmstrongNewcastle University

Prof Stephen MingerKings College London

Prof Chris ShawKings College London

Prof Anne McLarenCambridge University


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Ian SampleThe Guardian

Mark Henderson The Times

Maria ChengAssociated Press

Emma MortonThe Sun

Victoria FletcherDaily Express

Jane KirbyPress Association

Rachael BuchananBBC News

Tom FeildenBBC Today programme

Michelle RobertsBBC News Online

Zoe SmeatonBBC News Magazine

Julie WeldonDaily Mail

Ben HirschlerReuters

Steve ConnorIndependent

Nic FlemingThe Telegraph

Clive CooksonFinancial Times

Sara MerchantSky News

Jayne SeckerFive News

Andy CoughlanNew Scientist

Claire WilsonNew Scientist

Attendees


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Hybrid embryo ban 'would cost patients' lives'

Nic Fleming, Telegraph

Coverage

Reuters

Independent

ITN / Channel 4 News

BBC News Online

Telegraph

Scotsman

The Times

UK Metro

Sky News

[email protected]

The Sun

Guardian

PA

AP

Daily Mail

Daily Express

New Scientist blog

Observer blog

Scientists attack plan to ban 'hybrid' embryos

Ian Sample, Guardian

Embryo research ban row

Emma Morton, Sun

Hybrid animal-human embryos face ban

Steve Connor, Independent


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The Times

5 January 2007


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Daily Mail

5 January 2007


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10 January 2007

Joint letter to the Times


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The Times - Letters page

10 January 2007


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3 September 2007

HFEA announces policy on Human-Animal Hybrid Embryos

Round-up


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Embargoed until 5pm Wednesday 5th September

Science Media Centre Press Release

For immediate release

Scientists respond to HFEA announcement of policy on Human Animal Hybrid Embryos

Professor, John Harris, Professor of Bioethics, University of Manchester, said:

“I am pleased that the HFEA have decided in principle to permit the use of human-animal embryos. It is to be hoped that when important benefits are likely to be derived from creation of so called true hybrids that such research will also be permitted.”

Dr Stephen Minger, Director, Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, King’s College London, said:

“It is gratifying to see that the HFEA has listened to the broader scientific and bioethical community as well as to the Science and Technology Committee and the Cross-Parliament Scrutiny Committee and agreed to consider license applications for interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). We are also indebted to our fellow scientists, patient advocacy groups, the research charities, and the public who have vigorously supported our cause over the past year.

“It has always been our view that the use of non-human oocytes for SCNT is currently the only ethically justifiable option given the large numbers of eggs required to derive cloned human stem cell lines from individuals with incurable and highly progressive neurological disorders. We applaud the HFEA for their decision and look forward to the decision from the licensing committee on our applications in November.”

Lyle Armstrong, Dr Lyle Armstrong, Institute for Human Genetics, Newcastle, said:

“This is excellent news. It is a positive outcome not just for our work but for the progress of British science in general and we hope that this will lead to new technologies to benefit everyone”


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Daily Mirror, 6 September

- HFEA approves research


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The Times, 6 September

Dr Stephen Minger, Director, Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, King’s College London, said:

“It is gratifying to see that the HFEA has listened to the broader scientific and bioethical community as well as to the Science and Technology Committee and the Cross-Parliament Scrutiny Committee and agreed to consider license applications for interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). We are also indebted to our fellow scientists, patient advocacy groups, the research charities, and the public who have vigorously supported our cause over the past year.”

Lyle Armstrong, Dr Lyle Armstrong, Institute for Human Genetics, Newcastle, said:

“This is excellent news. It is a positive outcome not just for our work but for the progress of British science in general and we hope that this will lead to new technologies to benefit everyone”


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Dr Stephen Minger, Director, Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, King’s College London, said:

“It is gratifying to see that the HFEA has listened to the broader scientific and bioethical community as well as to the Science and Technology Committee and the Cross-Parliament Scrutiny Committee and agreed to consider license applications for interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). We are also indebted to our fellow scientists, patient advocacy groups, the research charities, and the public who have vigorously supported our cause over the past year.”

Independent, 6 September

Daily Mirror, 6 September


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Easter weekend 2008

Catholic Church condemns embryo research

Rapid reaction


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SCIENCE MEDIA CENTRE PRESS RELEASE

Scientists condemn Catholic Church attack on embryo research

For immediate release Friday 21 March 2008

Dr Stephen Minger, Director, Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, King's College London, said:

"This is yet another example where it is clear that the Catholic Church is misrepresenting science because it doesn’t understand the basic facts. As both the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the House of Common Select Committee on Science and Technology have concluded, such an embryo is categorically human. The Church should carefully review the science they are commenting on, and ensure that their official comments are accurate, before seriously misinforming their congregations.

"It is absolutely not the case that there is widespread public opposition to this this area of stem cell research. We as scientists have debated this matter with the public and policy makers for over a year now and the HFEA’s consultation showed that those people who have understood the science correctly and can see the medical benefits are overwhelmingly in favour of allowing us to do the research."

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Head of the Genetics Division at the Medical research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research, said:

"Science progresses by refuting falsehood. The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church apparently want to promote it. The proposals within the Embryo Bill that the Bishops object to are to permit research with very sincere and honourable aims, which are to provide understanding of normal processes in life and to develop cures for the debilitating diseases and conditions that occur when these go wrong. Each of these aims informing the other. We are not seeking to make monsters as the Bishops proclaim. The proposals do not even open new ground; scientists have been mixing human and animal cells and genetic material in the lab for many years, and much important science and progress in medicine depends on this. Why do the Bishops not recognise this and inform their congregation? Is it because they know that ignorance breeds fear, and this is what they wish to propagate? All the research proposed will be tightly regulated, and conducted under strict rules that prevent, for example, development of any "human admixed embryo" beyond 14 days and certainly prevents its implantation into the womb of a woman or an animal. How can a little ball of cells violate human dignity or scare anyone, especially when its purpose is to do good?

"If the research is successful in its aims, then it will help improve quality of life and give back dignity to those who suffer."


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Joint letter to MPs from the medical research charities


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BBC News website

23 March 2008


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The conclusion...


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Guardian

12 May 2008

Daily Mirror

20 May 2008


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Financial Times, January 19, 2008 – leader article

‘British scientists spent last year explaining to politicians, media and the public that the reality was very different. The research was designed to overcome the severe shortage of donated human eggs, not to make inter-species hybrids; almost all the animal DNA would be removed and replaced by the nucleus from a human cell. The government reversed its legislative plans, and on Thursday the regulator approved the first two hybrid embryo research projects.’


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Times , October 13 2007 – Mark Henderson

‘The concessions are the culmination of a remarkable campaign that shows how scientists are starting to acquire the political and media savvy that they lacked in the controversies over GM crops and the MMR vaccine.

‘Once reluctant to speak out, they are now borrowing the tactics of environmentalist and consumer groups to set the agenda. They patiently explained the case for carrying out controversial research to the press and the public, while presenting a united front that isolated ministers.

‘“This amazing U-turn shows why scientific institutions are absolutely right to shout loudly when they spot a policy which threatens medical research and practice,” said Fiona Fox, of the Science Media Centre. The proposed ban on embryos that are part-human and part-animal would have blocked experiments into Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.’


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Points from HFEA Opinion Poll

“When the public are told the reason for the creation of human-animal hybrids, even in non-hyped terms, there is a huge increase in support.”

61% support and 25% oppose


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