Select Committee on Science and Technology Second Report


SECOND REPORT

7 DECEMBER 1999

BY THE SELECT COMMITTEE APPOINTED TO CONSIDER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.

ORDERED TO REPORT

MEETING WITH HEALTH AND SCIENCE MINISTERS

  On 7 December 1999, we received oral evidence from John Denham MP, Minister of State for Health; Yvette Cooper MP, Minister for Public Health; and the Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Minister for Science and Innovation.

    The witnesses answered questions on:
      clinical academic careers—QQ 1-12;
      directed cell culture[1]—QQ 13-30;
      the possibility of an NHS-wide genetic database—QQ 31-38; and
      the NHS research and development strategy—QQ 39-43.

  The transcript of our exchanges is appended to this Report. Also appended are prior background memoranda on each of the three main topics from the Department of Health and from others.

  We have had a long-standing interest in the development of clinical academic careers. On that matter, this Report may therefore be read as a continuation of the Committee's Reports from 1995 on Medical Research and the NHS Reforms[2] and from 1997 on Clinical Academic Careers[3]. In the case of the NHS research and development strategy, our interest goes back to our 1988 Report Priorities in Medical Research[4].

  Prospects for directed cell culture and a possible NHS-wide genetic database are much newer issues. This was the first occasion on which we have considered these potentially exciting but complex topics.


1   This covers a variety of procedures and techniques. As the subject first emerged from the possible application of human cloning techniques for therapeutic purposes, it is often referred to as "therapeutic cloning" or "cell nucleus replacement". More recently, the prospect has emerged of achieving similar therapeutic ends through the culture of pluripotential stem cells. We have adopted the term "directed cell culture" to indicate this larger field of what might also be called tissue engineering. Back

2   3rd Report 1994-95, HL Paper 12. Back

3   3rd Report 1997-98, HL Paper 47. Back

4   3rd Report 1987-88, HL Paper 54. Back


 
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