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Stem Cell Research Around the World

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 17 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Stem Cells Policy Policies Research

While stem cell research is widely recognised and funded in the United Kingdom (UK), policies and efforts in other parts of the world vary a great deal.

Stem cell policies specifically for UK research are covered in depth in the article titled Policies for Stem Cell Research. It's interesting to note the different approaches to stem cell research, which are often vastly different even in westernised nations. Also, those nations with a strong religious presence, particularly Roman Catholic, tend to be less supportive of stem cell research, if not adamantly opposing its progress.

United States

The United States (U.S.) generally limits the release of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Instead, it supports a small number of pre -2001 stem cell lines produced from embryos leftover following in vitro fertilisation. It does not, however, prevent private funding nor does it limit and regulate state and local funds.

Canada

Canadian laws are somewhat flexible in the field of stem cell research. In 2005, a boost of just over 5 million dollars was directed to support experiments investigating the use of adult stem cells to replace damaged cells in the heart, lungs or blood vessels. Those embryos that are leftover from failed in vitro fertilisation may be used but therapeutic cloning is not allowed. Canadian policy is such that any embryo created with the purpose to utilise stem cells, which is then destroyed after stem cell extraction, is unacceptable.

European Union (EU)

Although the EU does not directly fund stem cell research that results in embryonic destruction, it does still fund other stem cell research areas. Once independently approved and deemed ethically acceptable, funds are directed to the appropriate source.

Within Europe, policies do still vary and the majority of stem cell research is funded nationally, with the primary funding focus allotted to adult stem cells rather than embryonic. Top supporters of stem cell research include the UK, Sweden and Belgium.

South Korea

South Korea has made strong advancements in stem cell research, due to very flexible policies regarding research. These policies are not supported by all nations though and South Korea's advancement may essentially propel the nation to the forefront of stem cell research. South Korean researchers have been able to rapidly and successfully produce stem cells that are a perfect genetic match to patients of all races, genders and so forth. Their progress in therapeutic cloning means they can efficiently produce stem cells tailored to the individual and with a low risk of immunological rejection.

Germany, Austria and Italy

Policies regarding stem cell research in these countries are much stricter. Research involving embryonic stem cells is either prohibited or severely restricted. In fact, it was in 2006 that Germany pushed for a ban on all embryonic stem cell research in the EU, immediately after the U.S. shot down a bill set to extend such research. Whether Germany's actions were directly prompted by the U.S. is debatable but certainly, policies in one nation can have an enormous impact on those of another.

Australia

Australian policies are comparatively relaxed from an international standpoint. Recent laws have been approved for therapeutic cloning although reproductive cloning, as with the rest of the international community, is still strictly condemned. Embryos cloned for therapeutic use therefore may not be implanted in a womb. Furthermore, they must be discarded within two weeks.

Switzerland

Switzerland actually addressed stem cell research in a national referendum, with the outcome being approval for embryonic stem cells that are unused and would otherwise be discarded following in vitro fertilisation. For more information about in vitro fertilisation visit Swiss laws strongly prohibit reproductive cloning or the creation of an embryo specifically for stem cell research purposes.

Spain

Originally, scientists were only allowed to use embryos frozen prior to 2003. This, however, changed when it was decided that embryos available for research could also include any that are frozen within two weeks of conception. The law further extends to allow parents who have children with incurable diseases to conceive a new embryo and utilise stem cells, thereby providing a tissue donor. This procedure would be used after all other options have been exhausted, so it is not a primary means for treatment.

It can be a difficult scientific and ethical balance for policies to reflect the desire for progress in managing disease along with the importance of maintaining the collective moral views of a nation. Today, stem cell research is still fraught with debate, both within and between nations. The variation in policies throughout the world clearly demonstrates the exciting therapeutic potential coupled with ethical criticisms of stem cell research.

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Demarco - 17-Jan-17 @ 5:00 PM
To whom this may concern: I sending on behalf of my husband he has ALS and we are interested in him doing the stem cell research. Please contact me with any questions you may have. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.
Nancy - 4-Jan-17 @ 4:40 AM
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kate658 - 3-Dec-16 @ 7:26 AM
Hi I am currently looking for any stem cell research taking place for premature ovarian failure - can you kindly direct me?
Shaz - 29-Oct-16 @ 12:21 AM
GoodMorning. Dr. Sir I am Bihari Dhanda at the resident of Haryana, India. AndI am a patient of LGMD2b (Dysferlinopathy)and same diseases is my elder brother. I request the what’s times of my diseases LGMD2b (Dysferlinopathy) and what are treatment of my diseases is impossible or possible. I want a treatment of your Hospital & your country. I am readyto the treatment andI do the full payment of my disease. plz learn its.plz reply my message Thanking you. From: ---- Bihari Dhanda Haryana, India, (Phone No. +919813680702) Patient of LGMD2b(Dysferlinopathy)
BIHARI - 15-Oct-16 @ 9:39 AM
I am intrested in getting my daughter who is 12 at a clinic in Switzerland for diabetes I have been researching a clinic who say that excellent results with stem cell What is your take on this
vish - 12-Jun-16 @ 7:30 PM
Jeanette - Your Question:
Please contact me or email me I want to come to the UK for stem cell treatment for limb girdle Muscular Dystrophy. Willing to pay and travel from the US. I understand there is no guarantee. I have a family with a 4 year old son. I am also a carrier of LGMD. My son is not affected yet. My brother also has the condition. My grandma was bon and raised in England( now deceased). My phone number us

Our Response:
I'm afraid there are currently no stem-cell-based therapies for muscular dystrophy in the UK. While research is showing positive results it is still at the research stage and not used for treatment on humans.
ExploreStemCells - 12-Jan-16 @ 2:08 PM
Please contact me or email me I want to come to the UK for stem cell treatment for limb girdle Muscular Dystrophy. Willing to pay and travel from the US. I understand there is no guarantee. I have a family with a 4 year old son. I am also a carrier of LGMD. My son is not affected yet. My brother also has the condition. My grandma was bon and raised in England( now deceased). My phone number us
Jeanette - 12-Jan-16 @ 3:19 AM
thanks this website is sooooo helpful
mg12 - 19-Jun-15 @ 10:00 AM
@Col - I have included a link to NHS Clinical Trials in the UK here which includes all trials, not just stem cell. You would have to do some online research in order to find if/what other trials were taking place globally. I hope this helps.
ExploreStemCells - 5-Jun-15 @ 12:51 PM
Good Morning, I am enqiuring about any treatments or research or clinical trial currently available for Multiple Sclerosis. I very much appreciate you input and assistance, Thankyou, Sincerely, Colleen
Col - 4-Jun-15 @ 6:38 PM
I would like to be informed about cerebral palsy stem cell-researches. Thanks in advance
Kirk - 7-May-15 @ 12:31 PM
@Matt - we are a UK-based site that only can give UK-based information I'm afraid.
ExploreStemCells - 29-Apr-15 @ 10:56 AM
Befor traveling to USA from AustraliaSome advicefor stem cell treatments for muscle dystrophy girdle limb... I contacstem cell of America any fedback please? Thanks for help
Matt - 26-Apr-15 @ 5:06 PM
@G - I'm afraid we can't advise on whether an establishment is regulated or not. Given that treatment is still in its infancy and mainly still at test stage, there have been a lot of concerns raised over the unregulated use of stem cell treatments, so please beware.
ExploreStemCells - 8-Dec-14 @ 2:17 PM
I want to take my son for feral stem cell treatment. We are currently look at Emcell and Stem cell of America. Can you advise me please. I'm trying to find out if any one of these is really worth it. If there is a chance I am willing to try but I don't want to try anything that could be a potential risk. I have tried to find background info. The only thing I found that stood out was that the owner of Stem Cell for America used to be the escort for Emcell patients. Please help
G - 6-Dec-14 @ 7:26 PM
I am a 5,6 incomplete neck.and I would like information on stem cell research and where can I go to see if I am a candidate for this
Carlos Sendros - 19-Aug-14 @ 6:56 AM
this is really helpful to me i got an a
meane - 1-Feb-13 @ 12:19 AM
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