Stem Cells: BIO Deutschland Advocates Moving the Cut-Off Date

In the context of a debate on stem cells held at the Lower House of the German Parliament (Bundestag) in the middle of February, BIO Deutschland issued a statement in which it advocated moving the cut-off date for the import of embryonic stem cells from 1 January 2002 to 1 May 2007. In addition, BIO Deutschland urged that the Stem Cell Law should unequivocally apply to Germany only – and thus stop the threat of charges being pressed against Germany-based scientists when they use newer human embryonic stem cell lines in research outside Germany. Professor Felicia Rosenthal, a member of the board of BIO Deutschland and Managing Director of CellGenix GmbH stressed, "It is not yet clear whether and with what type of stem cell the desired therapeutic aims can be reached. However, in order to be able to use ethically viable adult or reprogrammed stem cells in the future in therapies that are useful to human beings, our researchers must be able to compare these with human embryonic stem cell lines that are suitable for clinical application." Rosenthal pointed out that this is not possible with stem cell lines that were created before 1 January 2002.

Dr Peter Heinrich, President of the Board of BIO Deutschland and CEO of MediGene AG stated: "We must not allow restrictive laws to endanger Germany’s excellent international position in the field of regenerative medicine and to force scientists with future-oriented projects in research institutes and particularly in innovative small and medium-sized enterprises to work abroad."

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