Today the Nuffield Council on Bioethics welcomed the findings of the Chief Medical Officer's Expert Group which reported on stem cell research.

In April 2000 the Council published a discussion paper entitled 'Stem cells: the ethical issues' and concluded that research into human stem cells had the potential to develop treatments for a variety of diseases and should be permitted with safeguards. The report of the CMO's group drew similar conclusions and proposed measures to implement such safeguards.

"We were very pleased to see that the CMO's Report addressed important ethical issues such as the need for specific consent by embryo donors to embryonic stem cell research" said Dr Sandy Thomas, director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Research on the transfer of a nucleus from a somatic cell, with the aim of producing stem cells for cell and tissue therapy, has raised concerns that these developments will increase the likelihood of reproductive cloning. Such a procedure is not permissible under UK law and the Council welcomes the Government commitment to put legislation in place to set out unequivocally the ban on reproductive cloning.

Notes to Editors

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is an independent body, which examines the ethical issues raised by developments in medicine and biology. Established in 1991, it is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.