Position Paper by BIO Deutschland on Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research
According to the current German cut-off date regulation in the Stem Cell Law, it is only possible to work in Germany with embryonic stem cell lines that have been found to be contaminated. A redrafting of the Stem Cell Law and the adjustment of the cut-off date regulation therefore appear to be urgently required, if one wants to avoid German research and development teams in biotechnology companies and academic institutes finding themselves at an impasse in the foreseeable future, with their internationally excellent position in the field of regenerative medicine at risk and in danger of ending up being excluded from a promising future technology. As stem cell research is a highly innovative sector, the constantly newly generated research results must be continually re-evaluated. Accordingly, legislation must also be constantly critically reconsidered in order to be able to make any necessary adjustments in a flexible way. At any rate, the current valid legal parameters must not be allowed to block discussions on possible further developments of this legislation.
In order to halt the deterioration of research conditions that has come about since the introduction of the Stem Cell Law and to recreate the law’s original aim and stop the existing risk of punishment facing German scientists working in international projects, BIO Deutschland advocates the following:
- Moving the cut-off date (for example to 1 May 2007).
- Removing the threat of punishment of German scientists, that is, an unequivocal application of the Stem Cell Law to Germany only.
- Reduction of bureaucratic barriers in the official licensing procedures in the area of stem cell research.
Although strict control of research in this field is necessary, bureaucratic obstacles involved in an application should be minimised. The suggested regulations on cost for embryonic stem cell research also seem to be very complicated and are not transparent enough.