IntroductionMore than 80 people attended a public meeting organised by Egenis to debate stem cell and embryo research.
Health Minister and Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw was among the speakers at the meeting, which took place at Exeter's historic Guildhall. The chair was Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the Charity Commission and former chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The panel also included Egenis Director Professor John Dupré and Senior Research Fellow Dr Christine Hauskeller, and Clinical Oncologist Dr Liz Toy.
After hearing from each of the speakers the audience had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments of their own. There were questions about the costs and potential benefits of stem cell research, and about regulation in other countries, and comments on subjects as varied as Parkinson’s disease and the tracing of biological parents. There was a lively discussion about when human life can be said to begin, and about the status of the embryo.
“There has been a lot of coverage of this subject in the media, particularly in relation to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, but people may not have been able to get a very clear picture,” said Professor Dupré. “This was an opportunity for them to find out more and to engage in open and informed debate. We are delighted that so many people attended and demonstrated such keen interest, and Egenis was particularly grateful to receive the support of Mr Bradshaw, Dr Toy and Dame Suzi.”