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CONTENTS Issue #516
COMMENT
What next for preimplantation genetic screening (PGS)?
All embryos are not equal
NEWS DIGEST
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What next for preimplantation genetic screening (PGS)?
13 July 2009 - by Professor Joyce Harper
Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) for aneuploidy was first reported by Verlinsky et al (1995) and Munne et al (1995). Both of these initial studies analysed polar bodies. The aim of the technique is to help determine the best IVF embryo for transfer on the grounds of the polar body or embryo's chromosomes, by performing biopsy and analysis of the chromosomes using fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). There have been hundreds of papers on the use of PGS. It is well known that for pa... [Read More]
All embryos are not equal
13 July 2009 - by Michelle Hickman
Years before many people knew that they were infertile or would become infertile a law was made to actively discriminate against them. Many are now on a very tight deadline to save embryos so that they have the possibility of creating a much wanted family.... [Read More]
HFEA publishes new code of practice
9 July 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
This week the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's (HFEA's) published its eagerly awaited 8th Code of Practice. Coming into force on 1st October 2009, the new Code of Practice has been published in order to reflect and develop upon the new changes at law introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill 2008.... [Read More]
House of Lords Genomic Medicine Report calls for NHS overhaul to improve future healthcare
9 July 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts
When giving evidence to the Lords' inquiry into genomic medicine, Health Minister Dawn Primarolo estimated that the vast potential benefits of genomic medicine will not largely be seen by patients for at least a decade. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee respectfully but conclusively disagrees in its report on Genomic Medicine, published 7 July 2009. Lord Patel who chaired the inquiry surmised; 'Genomic medicine will clearly have a huge impact on health provision and the NHS [Read More]
New rules allow federal funding of US stem cell lines
9 July 2009 - by Ben Jones
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has published new rules that will govern state funded embryonic stem (ES) cell research now that the seven years of restriction under the Bush administration have come to an end. The new rules restrict research to stem cells sourced from surplus embryos donated by IVF patients and, consequently, forbid research on any embryo that was created specifically for the purposes of research (either through voluntary donation of human eggs or by employing... [Read More]
Cheshire woman may lose frozen embryos under new laws
10 July 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A woman from Cheshire may have her frozen embryos destroyed once the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 comes into force on 1st October 2009 because of new laws on storage. Michelle Hickman stored eleven embryos following a hysterectomy that left her unable to carry her own children. However, because they were stored over five years ago, the new Act requires them to be either destroyed or removed to another country. It is the last time Mrs Hickman and her husband, Martin, are able to... [Read More]
Sperm from stem cells sparks media furore
12 July 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
UK scientists have created human sperm cells in the laboratory for the first time. The sperm, called in vitro-derived (IVD) sperm, were grown from embryonic stem (ES) cells. The researchers hope that the IVD sperm will provide a useful model for studying the development of sperm cells and the causes of male infertility.... [Read More]
Five genes linked to most common brain cancer
13 July 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
An international team of researchers based in the US and the UK have identified ‘genetic warning signs', or variants in genetic code which could be used to indicate a persons likelihood of developing glioma, the commonest form of brain tumour in the UK.... [Read More]
Australia joins America in calls to pay women for stem cell research eggs
13 July 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
An Australian law professor has called for women in Australia to be paid for donating their eggs to medical research. The call, reported in Australian news last week, has been met with reservations from some ethics lobbies.... [Read More]

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