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Danes begin stem cell work

Cloning still banned, but brain conditions first focus for embryonic cell studies

Jane Burgermeister(janeburgermeister@yahoo.co.uk)

The first scientists in Denmark given permission to use embryonic stem cells for research purposes have begun work on degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimer.

Steen Broch Laursen from the Department of Molecular Endocrinology at Odense University Hospital said that the first phase of the project would concentrate on comparing the opportunities afforded by embryonic stem cells with the current utility of adult stem cells.

"I'm very pleased that Danish scientists can at last join in research efforts using embryonic stem cells," Laursen told The Scientist. "These efforts could help millions of people suffering from severe diseases."

A law allowing biomedical research using embryonic tissue for therapeutic purposes came into effect in Denmark on September 1 of this year. The move followed a recommendation by the Danish Council of Ethics, which advises the Danish Parliament on the ethical problems raised by developments in biomedicine.

"Using embryos...

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