Amendments regarding human-animal hybrids and other ethical considerations will be put directly to plenary vote after Parliament’s Environment Committee decided to leave the issue to member states.
The Parliament’s Environment Committee voted, on 30 January 2007, on first- reading recommendation regarding draft EU regulation designed to encourage the development of gene therapy, cell therapy and tissue engineering.
The report backs the EU draft regulation in that it rejects a number of ethical amendments which prevented the first draft report being adopted. The rejected amendments asked for “the regulation to specifically reject any commercialisation of the human body, of products that modify the human germ line (which contains each individual’s own genetic material) as well as products derived from human-animal hybrids or chimeras (created by introducing cells of another species into an embryo)”.
However, amendment number 12 of the Opinion given by the Legal Affairs Committee on ‘prohibition of commercialisation of the human body’ will be put directly to the plenary vote, which means that the debate on the ethical aspects of advanced therapies has been transferred to EP plenary.
The ENVI Committee’s report is also demanding guarantees about the safety of the advanced therapy products and techniques used in them, and MEPs would like to see more support for small companies working in this field, as most of the EU biotech companies are SMEs.