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Spanish drop competing stem cell lawsuits
The new Spanish government and the Andalusian state government have simultaneously dropped lawsuits over the creation of the Spainís first public stem cell bank (see Newsletter March 2004). This should allow the parties to debate revisions to the national law passed last October that placed strict limits on stem cell research. The law requires that researchers only use surplus embryos that had been stored for more than 5 years at the time the law took effect. The Andalusians had previously passed their own state law that was less restrictive and in addition created a regional centre for a new stem cell bank. However, the previous conservative Spanish government sought to limit stem cell research in the country and in reaction filed a lawsuit claiming that the state law was unconstitutional. The Andalusian state government replied by filing their own lawsuit charging the Spanish government with interfering in the way they governed in their region. The impasse was expected to stay in place until the Constitutional Court had delivered their verdict, expected in the summer.
Now, with the Socialists in power in both the Andalusian and Spanish governments, the lawsuits have been dropped and there is consensus that stem cell research in Andalusia, and elsewhere, should take place. It is expected that the national law will be revised accordingly.