Monday, December 08, 2008

"You would barely know adult stem cells exist"

Said Colin McGuckin, a British stem cell expert, who is leaving the UK to pursue his research in France and taking his research team of ten with him, having found insufficient support for his work here.

McGuckin, professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University, hit out at both his university and UK funding agencies, saying they were prioritising embryonic stem-cell research above work with adult stem cells, despite the more immediate clinical benefits offered by his work.

Speaking exclusively to Times Higher Education, he said he was leaving because he had to put his patients and staff first. "The bottom line is my vocation is to work with patients and help patients and unfortunately I can't do that in the UK." He said France offered a "much better environment" both to "cure and treat more people" and to "do good work".

He said that France had kept a "much more reasoned balance" between supporting adult and embryonic stem-cell research, unlike the UK, which had focused on embryonic research to the detriment of adult stem-cell research.

"(France) is very supportive of adult stem cells because they know that these are the things that are in the clinic right now and will be more likely in the clinic," he said. "A vast amount of money in the UK from the Government has gone into embryonic stem-cell research with not one patient having being treated, to the detriment of (research into) adult stem cells, which has been severely underfunded."

He also criticised the attention embryonic stem cells received over the past year from academics, the media, Parliament and his university. "You would barely know that adult stem cells exist at Newcastle," he said.

Other adult stem-cell researchers agreed with Professor McGuckin that there was a need for more balanced research support.

"We desperately need more funding for adult stem-cell research because with these cells we really can make a difference to patients' lives, and we can do it now, not in ten years' time as is promised for embryonic stem cells," said Anthony Hollander, a professor of rheumatology and tissue engineering at the University of Bristol.


Blogger Merseymike said...

I'm in favour of research and do not think it makes any difference at all which cells are used.

12/13/2008 6:00 PM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

It does to the success rate, clearly.

12/14/2008 11:04 AM  
Blogger neprimerimye said...

Regardless of the merits of various research programs I suspect that the learned gent is departing these shores for better remuneration.

Better by far if all valid research projects were financed by the state and the drug companies taken into state ownership to provide the needed funds.

12/16/2008 4:24 PM  

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