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Issue 598 (07 March 2011)

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Welcome to BioNews by email, published by the Progress Educational Trust, providing you with news, comment and reviews on genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas. 

Visit the BioNews website at where you can subscribe for free to receive BioNews by email in one of three formats, and search the archive of more than 6,000 articles.


The error of our ways? The demise of the HFEA and the prevention of errors in assisted conception
07 March 2011 - by Professor Anne Kerr
Past and present members of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have challenged the UK Government's plans to abolish it. They say it's led to improvements in access to information and choice for patients, and to better treatment and research through careful regulation and inspection. Recently, the HFEA's record of preventing errors has been given as another reason to retain its special role regulating fertility clinics. But what is the evidence... [Read More]
Donating eggs and sperm: you will have your say
07 March 2011 - by Alan Doran
One of the things that makes working at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) extremely worthwhile is we address topics that matter to many different people and groups. Unsurprisingly, there are many shades of opinion about the issues. Often, these views extend to passing judgement on our general competence and performance. The Government's proposals about the future of arm's-length bodies have added piquancy to this strand of public discussion... [Read More]

News Digest

Unravelling the genetic ancestry of the Scots
07 March 2011 - by Harriet Vickers
Research conducted at the University of Edinburgh means Scots can find out more about their ancestry through a DNA test. Dr Jim Wilson, a research fellow at Edinburgh, gathered and studied genetic samples from across Scotland... [Read More]
Keep trying for IVF success, new study suggests
07 March 2011 - by Leo Perfect
Researchers from the University of Western Australia have published a study suggesting IVF effectiveness could be improved by undergoing more cycles.... [Read More]
Cells grown in lab could help research into Alzheimer's disease
07 March 2011 - by Alison Cranage
Scientists at Northwestern University, Chicago have transformed stem cells into a key type of brain cell that dies early in Alzheimer's disease. Their findings will allow scientists to study what causes the cells to die in Alzheimer's, potentially paving the way for new treatments.... [Read More]
Couple try for 'saviour sibling' to help son with Diamond Blackfan anaemia
07 March 2011 - by Sujatha Jayakody
The parents of a seriously ill child plan to have a 'saviour sibling' whose umbilical cord cells could be used to treat the child's life threatening condition.... [Read More]
Potential breakthrough in HIV gene therapy
07 March 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
American researchers have successfully created immune cells resistant to HIV. T cells, which are the main target of HIV, were isolated from six HIV positive patients and genetically manipulated to confer resistance. The cells were injected back into the same patients and were able to survive and multiply... [Read More]
New gene treatment for breast cancer developed
07 March 2011 - by Dr Jay Stone
Scientists at Queen's University, Belfast, have developed a new targeted gene therapy for the treatment of breast cancer.... [Read More]
PCB pollutants linked to IVF failure, study suggests
07 March 2011 - by Dr Lucy Freem
High levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a man-made organic chemical associated with adverse health reactions in humans, in the blood may contribute to embryos failing to implant during IVF, say researchers.... [Read More]


TV Review: Leah's Dream
07 March 2011 - by Jenny Dunlop
Unless you can be emotionally detached, this programme will affect your emotional equilibrium because it captures the unfairness of neuro-degenerative genetic disorders. It was filmed over two years and follows Leah who has Niemann-Pick disorder. Over this period, you witness her decline. She loses her memory, eyesight and use of her muscles as though she had adult Alzheimer's... [Read More]



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