News archives - Year 2004
Genomics, Biotech: ‘Plants for the future’ fashions vision for the future of plant genomics (21/12/04)
An EU-backed technology platform that was launched earlier in the year is busily hammering out its vision of how plant genomics and biotechnology can contribute to sustainable growth and competitiveness in Europe.
Legislation, Poll: Swiss say “yes” in stem cell research referendum (21/12/04)
An overwhelming majority of Swiss voters have voted in favour of embryonic stem cell research – which could open the way to new gene therapies. The legislation is expected to enter into force early next year.
Legislation, Gmos: Experts unable to reach consensus on GM ban in five Member States (21/12/04)
An EU regulatory committee did not reach a decision on whether to exert legal pressure on five EU Member States to lift their national bans on EU-approved genetically modified products. The decision has now been referred to the Council of Ministers.
Gmos, Authorisation: Commission approves importation of GM maize variety (29/11/04)
The European Commission has granted a licence for a genetically modified (GM) corn variety resistant to a certain herbicide to be imported – but not grown – in the EU for human consumption.
Additives, Authorisation: Putting safety on the animal feed menu (29/11/04)
As part of its ‘fork to farm’ commitment to ensuring food quality and safety, the European Commission has inaugurated the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for the authorisation of feed additives in Geel, Belgium.
Pharmaceuticals, Regulation: Commission proposes permitting the export of generic medicines to needy countries (29/11/04)
The European Commission is proposing new legislation to permit generic drug manufacturers to produce and export patented medicines to “countries in need” which lack the domestic manufacturing capacity.
Pharmaceuticals, Regulation: Commission prescribes remedy to make medicine easier to swallow for children (21/10/04)
The European Commission has proposed new legislation to encourage drug firms to produce more medicines designed specifically for children, addressing the dearth of such medication in the market.
Genetics, Health: Gene mutation may play role in extreme obesity (21/10/04)
Some extremely obese people can partly blame their condition on their genes, new research suggests. But the German scientists behind the study say that people struggling to nab the flab should not despair as this is only one factor among many.
Genetics, Regulation: Spanish stem cell research to begin end October (21/10/04)
Spain will permit human embryonic stem cell research – which could open the way to new gene therapies – to begin at the end of October, a year after the Spanish government passed related legislation on assisted reproduction and embryonic research.
Research, Policy: Debate over future EU research funding near completion
The European Commission is winding up its consultation on the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) – for which it has invited contributions from the scientific community and the public at large. Scientists have, in general, welcomed the debate and are largely confident that their views will be heard.
Legislation, Medicine: Fleshing out EU regulations on human tissues and cells (20/09/04)
The European Commission has launched an open consultation to put meat on the bones of new EU rules governing the safe and ethical medical use of human tissue and cells.
Tissue, Engineering: Visionary European research could help restore eyesight (20/09/04)
An EU-backed project is shedding new light on the human eye and promises to revolutionise surgery on this delicate organ. By reconstructing the cornea, researchers hope to restore patients’ eyesight and reduce the number of tests carried out on animals.
Chemicals, Platform: Commission
and industry find the right chemistry (02/08/04)
The European Commission has joined forces with industry to launch a multi-stakeholder platform
that will seek to maintain sustainably the EU’s leading global position in the chemical and
biotechnology sector while addressing public concerns.
Plant Genetics, Treaty:
New agricultural biodiversity accord becomes globally enforceable (02/08/04)
Ratified by 55 countries, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture has
entered into force. The groundbreaking treaty contains legally binding provisions for the protection of
agricultural genetic diversity, as well as the rights of farmers.
Research, Ethics: Facing up to
the threat of bioterrorism – ethically (02/08/04)
The same ethical scrutiny should apply to research aimed at foiling potential bioterror attacks as to normal
clinical research, and every effort should be made to prevent ‘dual-use’ biotechnology from being misapplied,
a new expert report concludes.
Plant genomics, biotechnology: Planting the roots for change (24/06/04)
A stakeholder vision report on the future of plant genomics and biotechnology in Europe has been released. To fulfil the EU’s potential in the sector over the next two decades, the document recommends the creation of a multi-stakeholder platform to chart a coherent and consensual course forward
Medicine, Clinical Tests: EU trawls the seas for new cancer treatments (24/06/04)
European researchers have dived to the depths of the oceans to come up with solutions to combat sarcomas – a rare type of deadly tumour – using chemicals extracted from a Caribbean sea squirt. EU funding is helping test this novel treatment across Europe.
Research, Disease: Commission sets up prion nerve centre (24/06/04)
A new EU-backed network will act as the nerve centre for European research into degenerative prion diseases of the nervous system, such as mad cow disease, or BSE, and its human variant vCJD.
Research, Co-Operation: G8 backs international search for AIDS vaccin
The recent G8 summit has weighed in behind a global initiative to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine.
Medical Care: Guaranteeing Europeans get best results from
genetic testing (08/06/04)
Genetic testing may soon prove that prevention is better than
cure. However, the emerging practice could have certain less
desirable ethical and practical implications. To prevent these
from occurring, an independent expert group drew up recommended
guidelines to govern genetic testing in Europe.
Monitoring: EU expands genetic ‘radar’ to new
Member States in 2004 (08/06/04)
The enlargement of the Europe Union has involved a lot of
complicated logistics. Shortly before the historic day on
1 May, the ten new Member States became part of an EU-wide
network for the detection of genetically modified organisms
engineering, rules: Building up tissue of new legislation
Tissue engineering – already used to build skin and
bone – still holds enormous medical potential. The Commission
plans to release a comprehensive package of EU rules to govern
this promising field.
Medical Care: EU regulations against genetic discrimination
Regulation is needed to keep genetic testing - which can act as an early warning system against certain diseases - in the medical domain and prevent
its use as an instrument of social and economic discrimination, experts have warned.
Science: Art meets biology to forge a vision of modern humanity
The Italian city of Genoa bore witness to a rare encounter: artists and scientists debating
the impact of the life sciences on modern biology. Together, they forged a compelling vision
of the role of modern biology in serving humanity.
Consumer Confidence: Apples beat hamburgers in race for European
Fruit and vegetables emerged as clear winners in the European trust stakes, while consumers
regarded the health and safety of junk food and meat products with the most scepticism, a recent
six-nation survey has revealed.
Projects: Commission puts NEST at research frontier (16/03/04)
The Commission recently announced its support for ten fledgling NEST projects - more than half of which are in the fields of medicine and bioscience - in its bid to push frontier research to new limits.
Regulations: New EU rules on human tissues and cells (16/03/04)
The EU has agreed a new set of common rules on the safe and ethical medical use of human tissues and cells which can help treat hundreds of thousands of Europeans each year.
Import: Delays in approval of GM corn (16/03/04)
EU environment officials recently took a small step towards
authorising the import of a new variety of genetically modified
(GM) corn, but the decision approving the importation of NK603
Roundup Ready© maize into the EU has been referred to
the Council of Ministers, delaying its acceptance. Although
the company producing the maize expressed disappointment at
the setback, environmentalists welcomed it.
Projects: Commission cooks up something new for the biofood
In its bid to bolster the biotechnology sector and improve
the quality of European food, the Commission has launched
three new agrofood research projects and a training programme
to help scientists gain some entrepreneurial know-how.
Health: Parliament moves to shore up Europe's disease defences
The recent outbreaks of SARS and avian flu have highlighted the need to coordinate responses across national boundaries. Following the European Parliament's green light, a new agency looks set to lead efforts at the EU front line by next year.
Medical care: EU standards required to reap full health benefits
of genetic testing (12/02/04)
Genetic testing is soaring in the EU. Despite its important
role in helping to prevent diseases, common European standards
are needed to ensure the highest quality, a recent EU report
Regulations: Human tissue legislation nears fruition (14/01/04)
A new set of EU rules on the medical use of human tissues and cells - which help treat hundreds of thousands of Europeans each year - will soon enter into force following approval by the European Parliament.
Conservation: Plans for €10 million EU biodiversity programme
The European Commission has proposed a new €10 million programme
to better understand and conserve Europe's genetic and biological
Research: GM sugar might be sweeter for the environment, new
study suggests (14/01/04)
Genetically modified sugar beet is "far more environmentally
friendly" than its conventional cousins, a controversial new
UK analysis concludes.