26 April 2010
Switzerland has announced a major new three-year programme of research in stem cells and regenerative medicine. The aim of the NRP 63 programme, which is to receive CHF 10 million (£3.6 million; €4.2 million) from the Swiss National Fund, is to ‘better understand how stem cells work’ and lay ‘solid groundwork for future medical applications’. The twelve projects within the programme will be based at academic institutions and include research on adult human stem cells and embryonic and adult stem cells from other organisms. There is no reference to the more controversial human embryonic stem cell research.
The Vatican, which governs the Roman Catholic Church, is reportedly also to support research into adult intestinal stem cells as potential medical treatments for disease in the US. Ethically opposed to the use of embryonic stem cells because it involves the destruction of human embryos, the Catholic Church is apparently seeking to boost awareness of its official support for somatic stem cell research with support and, it is suggested, funding (see MSNBC news report).