Should the EU now also STOP funding of embryo research?
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The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that the law protects human embryos from any use that undermined human dignity - and wrote that their use "for purposes of scientific research was not patentable". The ruling is binding across all EU member states. Pro-life organisations have welcomed today's ruling by the European Court of Justice which has banned scientists from patenting stem cell techniques derived from the use of human embryos.
The EU judges had been asked by the German Federal Court to provide a ruling in a case involving a German scientist, Oliver Bruestle, who hoped to patent a method to create nerve cells from human embryonic stem cells. The German Court, (Bundesgerichtshof), hearing the case brought by Greenpeace against Mr Brüstle’s patent, referred the question to the EU Court seeking its interpretation of the phrase “human embryo” contained in an EU Directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions.
The Court was also asked to rule on whether whether scientific research constituted "industrial or commercial purposes", and whether procedures that indirectly involved embryonic stem cells were patentable.
The Life Institute, who recently published an investigative report on the forces behind the push for embryonic stem cell research said that, while the EU had not always been a friend to the Culture of Life, the Court ruling was a victory for scientific ethics, for human rights, and for the human embryo.
A spokesman for the Life Institute said that the world was continuing to turn away from embryonic stem cell research as it destroyed human life and offered no cures, and serious scientists were turning more and more to ethical adult stem cell research which was being used to treat patients successfully.
He added that the reaction of scientists who are involved in experiments on human embryos to the Court ruling was dishonest, in that they claimed that the potential to treat diseases was being curtailed by the ruling.
"It's simply untrue to claim such a limitation, especially when more than 70 conditions from cancer to spinal injuries are being treated by adult stem cell research," they said. He added that EU funding for embryonic stem cell research would now need to be re-examined in the light of the EU Court ruling.
We are now calling on the EU to stop all funding of research on human embryos.