Adult Stem Cells and Life Sciences

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:58 pm on 15th September 2015.

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Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate 6:58 pm, 15th September 2015

It is a pleasure to be here, and I welcome the opportunity to speak about this subject. I am pleased that the Under-Secretary of State for Life Sciences is present, because his passion and commitment to issues such as regenerative medicine and life sciences are very real, and go beyond his job.

A decade ago I had no real knowledge of the life-saving treatment that is available through stem cell transplantation, but after being involved in the scrutiny of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which received Royal Assent on 13 November 2008, I was convinced that, with increased investment in research, the life sciences industry could continue to improve outcomes and save many lives.

The then Government sought to enable the United Kingdom to lead stem cell research and treatment, but their attention was not on adult stem cells. Adult stem cell transplantation already saves the lives of many who are affected by blood cancers and haematological disorders, but it has the potential to do much more, and that is the point of this debate.

Let me put the issue in context. More than 10 years ago, an editorial in Nature Biotechnology admitted:

“forward steps continue to be made in the field of adult stem cell therapy. One estimate is that there are currently over 80 therapies and around 300 clinical trials underway using such cells”.

The latest data from the Commons Library does not go much further than that. Will the Minister tell the House how many therapies and clinical trials are currently under way using adult stem cell transplantation and therapy? I think the answer is that we are not much further on.

Motion lapsed (Standing Order No. 9(3)).

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Stephen Barclay.)