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Learning English - Words in the News
 
19 October, 2005 - Published 16:15 GMT
 
International stem cell bank open
 
Stem cells
Stem cell research is controversial

A bank that will create and supply new lines of embryonic stem cells for research around the world has been opened in Seoul, South Korea. This report from Charles Scanlon:


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South Korean researchers say they're building a global network so scientists from around the world can share stem cells and research findings. They've set up an international consortium in Seoul which will act as a hub for the production of cell lines. Dr Ian Wilmut, a British cloning pioneer in Korea for the launch said it would open up completely new opportunities.

The technique, developed last year, uses human embryos to grow stem cells which one day may be used to replace tissue damaged by disease. The new centre will make the cells and techniques more widely available and accelerate research to find cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.

Dr Wilmut said he was confident the new cell lines could be produced in Britain by next year. The centre could also make research easier for American scientists who are held back by restrictions on the use of human embryos.

The South Korean team has benefited from liberal regulations and generous government support. President Roh Moo-hyun attended the launch ceremony. He said politicians should make sure the controversy over ethics did not block scientific research and progress.

Charles Scanlon, BBC, Seoul

Listen to the words

a global network
an organisation or structure (often using computers) that lets researchers in most countries of the world talk with each other more easily

stem cells
very small parts of something living (blood, skin etc.) which can be used to create many other different living things

an international consortium
a group of companies and organisations from different countries working together on the same project

a hub
here, a central location, a main point of production (for stem cells)

open up
create

accelerate research
make experiments happen more quickly

degenerative diseases
diseases where the affected tissue becomes worse over time

held back
stopped from working on something

liberal regulations
rules with very few restrictions so that people can generally do what they want

the controversy over ethics
the arguments about whether working with stem cells is morally correct or not



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