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CONTENTS Issue #490
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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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Is the human embryo sacrosanct? Gamete Donation and Doctrine
12 January 2009 - by Lorna Stewart
The annual conference of the Progress Educational Trust - 'Is the embryo sacrosanct? Multi-faith perspectives' - took place in November 2008. The third and final session of the day - titled 'Gamete Donation and Doctrine' - is reported here. The session was chaired by Rabbi Jonathan Romain, Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis... [Read More]
Surrogacy law must be reviewed to stop more British couples ending up in a legal nightmare
12 January 2009 - by Louisa Ghevaert
Pressure for a review of surrogacy law is mounting in legal, media and political quarters following the case of Re X & Y (Foreign Surrogacy) 2008 (reported in Bionews on 14 December 2008). The case - the first to test the law for British couples going abroad for surrogacy - has highlighted the... [Read More]
A gene to predict childhood leukaemia prognosis
12 January 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
A new report published online in the New England Journal of Medicine last week describes the clinical relevance of the genetic changes in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). ALL, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, is the most prevalent cancer in children. The cure... [Read More]
Democrats consider way forward on ES stem cell research in the US
12 January 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
As President-Elect Barack Obama's inauguration date approaches, Democrats in the US are considering the best way to overturn the current restrictions on embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Mr Obama has already indicated that his administration will relax the restrictions but he now must decide whether to do... [Read More]
Postcode lottery rages on as IVF funding lacks continuity
12 January 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
Only one in five primary care trusts (PCTs) in England is providing the recommended number of NHS-funded IVF cycles, it was revealed at a fertility conference in Edinburgh last week. The results of a survey conducted by a team at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London show that... [Read More]
Birth of first UK baby screened for genetic breast cancer
12 January 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
The first baby to be screened for alterations in the breast cancer-causing gene, BRCA1, was born last week. The child was at risk from inheriting the gene from her father, who has women in three generations of his family who have been diagnosed with breast caner in... [Read More]
New drug mobilises mouse stem cells for tissue repair
12 January 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Scientists at Imperial College, London, have found a way to boost the body's production of certain types of adult stem cells that are involved in repairing damaged tissues. The technique, described in the journal Cell Stem Cell, may eventually lead to therapies that enhance self-healing of broken... [Read More]
British Fertility Society releases new guidelines for sperm, egg and embryo donation
12 January 2009 - by Ben Jones
The British Fertility Society (BFS) has announced a substantial reworking of guidelines for the donation of gametes and embryos for assisted reproduction so as to increase safety for recipients of donated reproductive material. The guidelines, which replace the BFS's 2000 guidelines for egg and embryo donations and... [Read More]
Public consultation launched on draft fertility regulations
12 January 2009 - by Sandy Starr
Following the granting of Royal Assent to the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in November 2008, the Department of Health has launched a public consultation on draft regulations to implement the Act. While certain aspects of the Act's provisions will come into force as early as... [Read More]

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