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UK Report Says Proposed IVF Technique Is Likely Safe

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Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The procedure is currently forbidden in the United Kingdom because it would alter the genetic material of an egg or embryo. In February, after years of scientific and ethical assessments and public consultations, the government issued draft regulations that would change the law to allow the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to grant licenses to clinics to offer the procedure. The public consultation on the proposal closed on 21 May, and the Department of Health is expected to issue its response in the coming months. The government must still decide whether to present the proposed law to Parliament for a vote.In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a meeting in February to discuss the issue. There is no federal law that regulates such in vitro fertilization procedures, but FDA has said clinicians would need the agency’s permission before trying it.Today’s report is the third such assessment from the United Kingdom’s HFEA, which regulates the country’s fertility clinics and embryo research. HFEA’s five-member panel concludes that, consistent with the 2011 and 2013 assessments, there is no strong evidence to suggest that the procedure would be unsafe.The latest report examined worries by some researchers that mismatches between the nuclear DNA of the parents and the mitochondrial DNA of the oocyte donor might cause unanticipated problems, as some animal research had suggested. The panel concluded that the risk of such problems is low, but it does recommend that so-called haplotype matching—looking for a donor whose mtDNA type might be similar to the mother’s—be part of the process for choosing an egg donor “as a precautionary step.”The panel concluded that more research in several areas is needed before the technique is applied in patients. For example, it said, not enough is known about how a mix of mtDNA in a cell might affect development and the health of a potential child. (Such a mix could arise if faulty mtDNA from the original egg was unintentionally transferred along with the nuclear DNA.) It also called for more data on human embryos created with the technique. The embryos would not be implanted in a mother, but would be compared with control embryos and perhaps used to derive embryonic stem cells, which could then be studied to learn more about downstream effects of the procedure. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email A proposed new fertility treatment that could prevent certain types of genetic diseases is likely to be safe, according to the latest scientific assessment of the procedure by a scientific review panel in the United Kingdom. But the panel, which issued its report today, says more research in a few areas is necessary before the technique, called mitochondrial DNA replacement therapy, is used in patients.Mitochondria are organelles that provide the cell with energy. They carry their own DNA, called mtDNA, and mutations in those genes cause mitochondrial disease. The symptoms are variable, but organs that use lots of energy such as the brain, muscles, and heart are often affected. Because mitochondria are passed on through the egg cell, the diseases are inherited from the mother. The technique could potentially allow women who carry disease-causing mutations in their mitochondrial DNA to have healthy biological children.Researchers have developed ways to transfer the genetic material from an egg cell that carries faulty mitochondria into a donor egg cell that has healthy mitochondria. The resulting embryo carries nuclear DNA from the mother and father and mitochondrial DNA from an egg donor. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country read more