Page URL:

Spain approves rules for stem cell research

8 November 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 283

The Spanish government has now formally approved a decree clarifying the country's laws on human embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research. The Spanish government passed legislation on assisted reproduction and embryo research in October 2003, but did not specify the mechanisms that would allow Spanish scientists to undertake research projects.

Speaking at a medical conference in September, Elena Salgado, the Spanish health minister, said that Spain would allow human ES cell research to take place from the end of October 2004. At the time, she said that the government was waiting for approval of its proposals on 'informed consent' from a consultative body. The proposals state the procedure that must be followed in order to ensure that patients understand what they are agreeing to when they participate in clinical tests.

Spain's laws state that embryos left over from IVF and donated by the couple that created them can be used in research, including ES cell research, if they have been frozen for more than five years. Couples must sign an informed consent form and grant permission for the specific research project their embryos are to be used in. Applications for research projects will have to detail which embryos will be used, as well as showing why it is necessary to use human, rather than animal, cells for the research. Any ES cell lines created must be registered in the national stem cell bank and made available to other researchers.

The Spanish health ministry said that it will create a national commission to oversee projects and follow them up. At a press conference, Salgado said that Spain's laws may be developed further in the future. Next year, when the government is expected to approve a new Biomedical Research Law, it may also be extended to include 'therapeutic cloning, if that is the feeling of society', she said. It may also remove the requirements that embryos be in storage for five years, and that researchers must show that they could not use animals. Spain's deputy prime minister, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, said 'it is not ethical to place obstacles and difficulties in the way of scientists who are using their talent and knowledge to improve our capacity to treat illness'.

Church angry, scientists happy as Spain OKs stem cell research
Yahoo Daily News |  29 November 2004
Spain eases embryo research
The Scientist |  1 November 2004
Spain OKs stem cell research conditions
Yahoo Daily News |  23 October 2004
14 July 2005 - by BioNews 
The Socialist government in Spain plans to introduce new legislation in September that would allow therapeutic cloning of human embryos for research purposes, according to its Health Minister, Elena Salgado. The new law will once again set the government against the Catholic Church in that country, further straining relations already...
28 February 2005 - by BioNews 
The Spanish government has approved four research projects using human embryonic stem (ES) cells. Last November, the Spanish government formally approved a decree clarifying the country's laws on ES cell research. It had passed legislation on assisted reproduction and embryo research in October 2003, but did not at the time...
28 September 2004 - by BioNews 
Elena Salgado, the Spanish health minister, has said that Spain will allow human embryonic stem (ES) cell research from the end of next month. The Spanish government passed new legislation on assisted reproduction and embryo research in October 2003. Speaking at a medical conference in Granada, she said that the...
10 May 2004 - by BioNews 
A decision about who should be in control of the Spain's first public stem cell bank is closer to being made, now that the two sides to the argument have called a truce. Members of the new Socialist government have agreed to drop legal challenges against the state of Andalusia...
27 October 2003 - by BioNews 
Following its initial approval in July 2003, the Spanish government has ruled that research will be allowed to take place on frozen-thawed human embryos, as long as they are donated for research purposes after being left over from fertility treatments. The Spanish parliament made a ruling on 16 October that...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.