HL Deb 02 February 2005 vol 669 c50WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of recent research indicating that existing embryonic stem cell lines are unsafe for human use because of contamination with animal products. [HL1044]

Lord Warner

To date, most human embryonic stem cell lines have been cultured for laboratory research using nutritional support from animal cells. It is therefore not surprising that a recent United States study has demonstrated that many of the human embryonic stem cell lines, which can be used in federally-funded research in the US, are contaminated with a molecule from animal cells. As with any contaminated therapeutic product, these cells could never be used for clinical applications.

Unlike the situation in the US, United Kingdom legislation permits the generation of new embryonic stem cell lines. UK researchers are well aware of the problem of animal contamination and are actively working on developing new embryonic stem cell lines which have been grown without using animal products.