Sunday, February 15, 2009

The position of France regarding stem cells

France is a country that has come in a bit late into bioethics discussions, specially in the matter of new therapies. Regarding stem cells, whether adult, embryonic or other, France's position has not been all that clear.

The adult stem cells
While the debate about origin of the stem is not a major problem, (whether placenta, umbilical cord, or adult stem cells), we think, nevertheless, that it would be important to store the collection of adults stem cells (whether placenta, umbilical cord, or our fabrics) for easy availability, while preserving their multipotency and respecting autonomy of individuals. Their effectiveness is being newly revealed every day, whether by transplant, cell therapy or cotton candy .

The embryonic stem cells
A law passed in August 6 2004 relating to bioethics prohibits the research on the embryo. Consequently, it prevents the possibility of sampling of embryonic stem cells (stadium morula, blastocyste). The policies of France are contradictory, our lawmakers have chose not recognize or reconcile the laws for fear of accusations of hypocrisy (In fact, we think they wished not to go against the strong scientific lobbies fighting to obtain the authorization of the research on the embryo); for it is this same law that allows the importation of lines of embryonic stem cells into French territory, and such was the case after the entry in force of the law.

Otherwise says, the legislation of 2004 gives themselves good conscience close to landa citizens and inquiring doctors. It forbids the research on the embryo to satisfy the one and it satisfies the others for not to prevent them from do their work in importation of the lines of stem cells. The research ban on the embryo in France does not hold for the legislator of 2004 recommends it in the other countries and in end on his territory in importation of the lines of embryonic stem cells obtained by this legally forbidden bias.

Which lack of courage? Which hypocrisy? We are sad to see to which not at all the legislator denies himself to work on important bioethics problems.

Seen the current state of the French lawful texts, we think that research authorization on the embryo will have to be given, after reflection, that when the legislator will have done « the housework » in its texts. What it will have given again coherence and moderation to his legislation. It is necessary to add that France has not any clear position concerning the embryo statute, which does not reduce the problem.

In conclusion, we think that regarding stem cells, France must not be afraid of there to reflect as all the others imminent bioethics problems, as euthanasia or gene therapy...

In French

La France est un pays un peu en retard et en retrait dans le domaine de la bioéthique, spécialement en matière de nouvelles thérapies. Concernant les cellules souches, bases de la thérapie cellulaire, la France a une position qui n’est pas toujours claire.

Les cellules souches adultes
Il n’y a pas de problèmes majeurs les concernant vu leur origine de prélèvement (placenta, cordon ombilical tissus adultes)
Nous pensons, toutefois, qu’il serait important de généraliser la collecte de cellules souches de cordon ombilical ou de placenta, en respectant des règles d’hygiènes et de respect des individus stricts. Leur efficacité est révélée à chaque nouvelle greffe par thérapie cellulaire.

Les cellules souches embryonnaires
La loi du 6 août 2004 relative à la bioéthique interdit la recherche sur l’embryon. Par voie de conséquence, elle empêche la possibilité de prélèvement de cellules souches embryonnaires (stade morula, blastocyste).
La position de la France est hypocrite, nous n’avons pas peur de le reconnaître et de le dire.
Car cette même loi permet l’importation de lignées de cellules souches embryonnaires sur le territoire français, et tel a été le cas après l’entrée en vigueur de la loi.

Autrement dit, le législateur de 2004 se donne bonne conscience vis à vis des citoyens landa et des médecins chercheurs.
Il interdit la recherche sur l’embryon pour contenter les uns et il satisfait les autres pour ne pas les empêcher de faire leur travail en important des lignées de cellules souches.
L’interdiction de la recherche sur l’embryon en France ne tient pas car le législateur de 2004 la préconise dans les autres pays et in fine sur son territoire en important des lignées de cellules souches embryonnaires obtenu par ce biais légalement interdit.

Quelle frilosité? Quelle hypocrisie?
Nous sommes triste de voir à quel point le législateur se refuse de travailler sur des problèmes bioéthiques importants.

Vu l’état actuel des textes juridiques français, nous pensons que l’autorisation de la recherche sur l’embryon devra être donnée, après réflexion, que lorsque le législateur aura fait le ménage dans ses textes. Qu’il aura redonné cohérence et pondération à sa législation.
Il faut ajouter que la France n’a pas de position claire concernant le statut de l’embryon, ce qui n’allège pas le problème.

En conclusion, nous pensons qu’en matière de cellules souches, la France ne doit pas avoir peur d’y réfléchir comme tous les autres problèmes bioéthiques imminents, comme l’euthanasie ou la thérapie génique...

Special Thanks to Linda MacDonald Glenn for the collaboration in the writing of this text.


Samia Hurst said...

Congratulations on broadening the discussion to the French-speaking parts of the world. As I bilingual ethicist and francophone blogger, however, I feel compelled to straighten a few bits of the translation. For example, 'lambda citizen' is a colloquial phrase meaning 'ordinary citizens'. The current phrasing is much less clear. And what's this about cotton candy?

I am not a professional translator, but here is my attempt:

As a country, France has been a little late, and a little less than forthcoming, in the domain of Bioethics, especially as regards novel therapies. Regarding stem cells and cellular therapy, the position of France is not always clear.

Adult stem cells
There are no major problems on this point, as they are harvested from the placenta or umbilical cord, or from adult tissues.
We nevertheless think it would be important to collect umbilical or placental stem cells according to rules of strict hygiene and respect for individuals. Their efficacy is confirmed with each new cell transplantation or therapy.

Embryonic stem cells
The Bioethics law of August 6th 2004 forbids research on human embryos. As a consequence, it prevents the collection of embryonic stem cells at the morula or blastocyst stages. France's position on this is hypocritical. We fear neither recognizing nor saying this. The reason is that this same law allows the importation of embryonic stem cell lines on French territory, and this has indeed happened after this legislation was implemented.

In other words, the legislators of 2004 gave themselves a good conscience vis-à-vis both public opinion and researchers.
They forbade research on embryos to satisfy the former, and gave the latter what they wanted by not preventing their research, since importing stem cell lines remained allowed.
Forbidding research on embryos in France does not hold water, since law-makers in 2004 supported that it should take place in other countries, and in fact on French territory as well, since embryonic stem cells can be imported despite being derived from exactly the sort of research forbidden in France.

What lack of courage? What hypocrisy? We are sad to see the extent to which legislators refuse to work on important bioethical issues.

Given the current state of French legal texts, we believe that an authorization of research on embryos will have to be given, on reflexion, but can only happen once law-makers have cleaned up their texts and put more coherence and thought back into our legislation.

It must be added that France has no clear position on the status of embryos, which does not make the problem any easier.

In conclusion, we think that stem cells is an issue France should not fear to reflect on, as it has after all done regarding all the other emerging bioethical problems such as euthanasie or gene therapy...
I hope the authors feel that this is faithful to their meaning! Please comment if not.

Samia Hurst said...

A typo in the last line. 'euthanasia' not 'euthanasie'. Readers will probably correct this themselves...

patricia mariller said...

Thanks for comments!!

Read Linda MacDonald Glenn's article on this blog on the cotton candy to allow you to understand of what that consists.

Yes, french and english allow you to complete your understanding if you are bilingual...

Best wishes