Foetal Tissue: Research

Innovation, Universities and Skills written question – answered on 20th May 2008.

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Photo of Stephen Williams Stephen Williams Shadow Secretary of State (Innovation, Universities and Skills)

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what research on applications of umbilical cord blood his Department and its predecessors have (a) undertaken and (b) funded in the last five years.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Minister of State (Science and Innovation), Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is aware of the potential benefits of umbilical cord blood for research. MRC funds two major centres of excellence with interests in this area: the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in Oxford; and the new MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh—and part of their research is considering the research possibilities around the use of umbilical cord blood.

In addition, MRC has in the past provided grant funding for research in this area, although the potential utility of cord blood for research outside of the immediate transplantation field has only recently been recognised.

MRC is currently in discussion with the Wellcome Trust and the Anthony Nolan Trust with regard to the feasibility and potential benefits of setting up a national cord blood bank for research.

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