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Clinic to Supply Embryos to Harvard

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    Clinic to Supply Embryos to Harvard

    .c The Associated Press

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - A fertility clinic will give embryos to Harvard in a deal that could make the university one of the world's top suppliers of embryonic stem cells.

    Boston IVF, a Waltham-based organization of fertility clinics, said it has thousands of frozen embryos that could provide stem cells. The firm said it plans to begin contacting donor couples for permission to use their embryos so Harvard scientists can extract stem cells.

    ``It is our intention to make these cells available to anyone who would like them to do research,'' Douglas Melton, chairman of Harvard's cell and molecular biology department, told The Boston Globe for Friday's editions. ``They are not being prepared with the intention of having any rights, commercial or otherwise.''

    The Howard Hughes Medical Institute will finance the arrangement between the school and the clinic. Melton is on the staff of the Maryland-based private foundation.

    The institute will give Boston IVF $180,000 over two years to cover the cost of providing the embryos. The newspaper said it is not clear how much Harvard will get for extracting and preserving the stem cells.

    Fertilized eggs, or embryos, are often left over from fertility treatments. Some scientists believe that stem cells can be coaxed to grow into any kind of cell, and might help cure diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

    However extracting a batch of cells destroys the embryo, which opponents consider destroying a life.

    Boston IVF serves about a thousand couples a year, and has helped conceive about 7,500 babies in five years. It stores all unused embryos in giant liquid nitrogen freezers.

    Massachusetts law requires oversight by a scientific ethics board for donation of embryos. Harvard's institutional review board will monitor the deal with Boston IVF.

    President Bush two weeks ago announced that federally funded researchers could use any of more than 60 embryonic cell lines that he said existed. Therefore, any scientist who drew cells from the Harvard supply would be ineligible to use taxpayer funds for research on the cells.

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science said last week that there is doubt about the number and origins of those cell lines.

    On the Net:

    AP-NY-08-24-01 0953EDT


    thank GOD for harvard i'm pretty sure they will take a lot of heat for their efforts. AGAIN THANKS, GLORIA [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img]