European ministers have struck a compromise deal allowing embryonic stem cell research to continue. It means EU members states can spend some of the bloc’s over 50 billion euro science budget on stem cell programmes.
Science and Research Minister Janez Potocnik said no exact figure was available: “We have inside this cooperation program, which is approximately 60% of the funding, one of the themes, a very important one, is devoted to the health. Inside that we go out with the course of proposals for, for exemple, curing the Alzheimer’s disease. So we never propose, and we don’t have a special money devoted to the embryonic stem cell research.”
Stem cells can turn themselves into any other type of cell in the body, and it is hoped they can be used to treat diseases and develop drugs. The deal was only given the green light when it was agreed EU cash would not be used to procure stem cells, a process that destroys human embryos.