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14/10/2010

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 14 October 2010

Stem cell trials - Geron's spinal cord therapy starts after years of regulatory wrangles. Human remains and archaeology - researchers complain of burdensome regulations. And a brief encounter with a comet chaser
NASA's Deep Impact space probe is closing in on the Comet Hartley 2; Quentin hears about the science astronomers hope to learn from the encounter.

  • Stem Cell Trials

    Geron in the United States has started the world's first trial of a treatment using human embryonic stem cells. But they only got to start after filing 21,000 pages of documentation to the regulatory authorities, at a cost of $45 million. Quentin asks biologist Anthony Hollander and lawyer James Lawford Davies whether the balance between law and science is right, or whether regulation is holding up medical progress.

  • Archaeology and human remains

    Over-zealous application of rules is stifling archaeological research, according to two practicing archaeologists. Duncan Sayer and Mike Pitts say it's becoming harder to run digs that involve human remains. Quentin asks them why.

  • Encounters of the interplanetary kind

    NASA's Deep Impact mission is about to fly past Comet Hartley 2, giving astronomers a rare chance of a close up view of an icy visitor to the inner solar system. Meanwhile, the Stardust space probe is gearing up for a look at Comet Tempel 1. And Hubble pictures reveal that two asteroids collided last year, creating a comet-like cloud dust in the asteroid belt. Astronomer Alan Fitzsimmons brings Quentin up to date.

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