Two separate votes in committees of the European Parliament on Tuesday (November 4) have smoothed the path for EU funding and support for human embryonic stem cell research. Although some member states of the European Union allow such funding from national budgets, funding from the EU budget is currently on hold.

The Parliament's Environment Committee adopted a second reading of proposals on quality and safety standards for human tissues and cells. Proposed amendments seeking to ban human embryonic stem cell research were comprehensively defeated.

The Parliament's Industry Committee voted in favor of amending a European Commission proposal allowing the research to be financed from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme budget. Most of a series of amendments seeking to impose significantly more strict conditions on the use of stem cell research were rejected during a debate described by a spokesman as “highly charged and emotional.”

“I am delighted,” British Member...

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