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Issue 634 (21 November 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. 

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You can change some of the NHS all the time, but you can't change all of the NHS all the time
21 November 2011 - by Chris Phillips
In Spring 2011 I was delighted to accept an invitation to join a panel of speakers at the Genetic Alliance UK conference in London. The session's main topic was the panel's view of the commissioning debate in the NHS.... [Read More]
The far-stretching reach of Mississippi's personhood amendment
21 November 2011 - by Dr Morven Shearer
On 8 November the Mississippi electorate voted against an amendment to the Bill of Rights in their state Constitution which would have redefined life as beginning at the moment of fertilisation – the so-called 'personhood amendment' (Proposition 26)... [Read More]

News Digest

Embryonic stem cell pioneers shut down trial
21 November 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman
A US drug company is abandoning its research into a novel paralysis treatment using embryonic stem cells, due to current economic conditions.... [Read More]
Accidental destruction of sperm samples at Cardiff IVF clinic
21 November 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
Apologies have been issued by a Welsh IVF clinic following the accidental destruction of three patients' sperm samples. The samples, known as straws, were collected from patients undergoing treatments for blood disorders and cancer that may affect their fertility. An investigation is underway as to why no senior staff were informed when the samples were destroyed in March this year... [Read More]
IVF treatment rises six percent in a year
21 November 2011 - by Dr Gabrielle Samuel
There was a six percent rise last year in the number of fertility treatments carried out in the UK, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)... [Read More]
Scientists in Australia milk stem cell promise
21 November 2011 - by Mehmet Fidanboylu
Stem cells may be present in breast milk and could be used therapeutically. The intense ethical debate surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells could therefore be bypassed if claims made by a team of scientists in Australia are confirmed... [Read More]
Single gene can make you appear more trustworthy
21 November 2011 - by James Brooks
Variations in a single gene may have considerable impact on whether people come across as trustworthy and kind, scientists say. Furthermore, the snap judgments we make about people's kindness after only a brief contact may accurately correspond to whether or not they possess the more 'social' gene variant... [Read More]
Trial for stem cell knee bandage kicking off
21 November 2011 - by Dr Zara Mahmoud
The world's first stem cell therapy to repair torn cartilage in the knee has been brought one step closer. Professor Anthony Hollander, co-founder of University of Bristol spin-out Azellon Cell Therapeutics, has just received funding of £65,000 to carry out clinical trials on the use of a patient's own stem cells for knee repair... [Read More]
Should IVF children in the US conceived after a parent's death receive benefits?
21 November 2011 - by Rachel Lloyd
The US Supreme Court will decide whether children conceived through IVF after the death of their biological father are entitled to receive survivor benefits - general welfare benefits paid by the state designed to replace the lost support of a deceased wage earner.... [Read More]
Pioneering clinical trial using cardiac stem cells shows early promise
21 November 2011 - by Victoria Kay
The world's first clinical trial using patients' own cardiac stem cells to repair heart damage has produced surprising results. The preliminary trial was designed simply to test the safety of the procedure, but doctors observed an unexpected improvement in heart function in patients receiving the treatment... [Read More]
Irish Government advisor warns against failing to introduce ART legislation
21 November 2011 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
An advisor to the Irish Government on child protection has expressed his 'profound concern' that failing to legislate in the area of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) may result in children's rights being violated.... [Read More]


Book Review: What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference
21 November 2011 - by Dr Rachael Panizzo
The study of genetic diversity between ethnic groups can help explain the ways in which race influences our biology and susceptibility to disease. But what do we mean by 'race', exactly? These issues are considered in the collection of essays 'What's the use of race? Modern governance and the biology of difference', edited by Dr Ian Whitmarsh and Dr David Jones... [Read More]



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