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Lord Rooker: Statutory restorative justice intervention for young people in Northern Ireland is delivered through the Youth Justice Agency's Youth Conference Service. Since the commencement of youth conferencing on 18 December 2003, there have been 3,936 referrals (up to 28 March 2008) relating to 2,122 distinct children.
Lord West of Spithead: The UK authorities were aware of the arrival of Horne in advance and took steps to deal with this. An international register would not have affected the response in this case. However, increasing the exchange between countries of information on sex offenders is one of our key public protection aims. In November 2006, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Ireland on the exchange of information on sex offenders and are hoping to develop similar arrangements with other states. We have raised the issue of exchanging information on sex offenders in EU discussions and are exploring other opportunities to engage in discussions on this issue with other states.
How many people are treated each week for the psychological effects of cannabis use; and what advice is given by FRANK, the Government's drug advice service for young people, about the threat posed by cannabis use to the health of young people. [HL3007]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The information requested is not available on a weekly basis. However, the most recent data available on the numbers of people presenting for treatment in specialist substance misuse treatment services who identified cannabis as their primary problem of misuse were 21,800 in 2005-06 and 24,700 (rounded to the nearest hundred) in 2006-07.
The advice FRANK provides is detailed information about the effect of cannabis on physical and mental
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Why the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 20 February (WA 65) refers only to Electoral Commission complaints to and investigations by the Metropolitan Police Service; whether they will provide details of the overall costs of all United Kingdom police investigations on behalf of the Electoral Commission; and what were the outcomes of those investigations. [HL2857]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government are not aware of any other investigations being carried out by any other police forces, but detailed information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.
To what extent the Polkinghorne Guidelines established in 1989 should still apply to research using foetal tissue; how implementation of these guidelines compares in practice to the regulation of research involving human embryos; how calls for greater transparency and consistency have been addressed since the publication of a report in the Royal Society of Medicine's Clinical Ethics journal in 2006 (Volume 1, pages 2168); and what are the justifications for any known differences regarding separation of treatment and research roles in obtaining material from foetuses or patients undergoing fertility treatment. [HL2704]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Since the publication of the Polkinghorne Guidelines in 1989 (amended 1995), new statutory frameworks have been put in place to regulate fertility treatment and embryo research and to regulate the use of tissue for research.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 regulates fertility treatments, involving the creation of embryos outside the body, for example in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and the use of donated gametes (sperm and eggs) and embryos, and the use of human embryos in research.
The Human Tissue Act 2004 regulates the removal, storage, use and disposal of relevant material for scheduled purposes including research. Relevant
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The Human Tissue Authority has published a code of practice on consent for the use of human tissue for certain purposes including research. The code recognises the sensitivity surrounding the use of foetal tissue for research and says that best practice is to obtain fully informed consent for the use of foetal tissue in research or for other purposes specified in the Human Tissue Act 2004.
Both fertility treatment and embryo research require a licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). While the majority of research involves the use of embryos donated by patients who no longer wish to use them in their own treatment, the processes of treatment and research are kept separate. The HFEA's code of practice provides guidance to clinics and research centres about the proper conduct of licensed activities.
Whether the provisions in Clause 4 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill were based on the experience of other countries known to have performed research using human gametes and animal gametes without replacing the nucleus of an animal egg and not destroyed later than the two-cell stage; if so, in which countries such research has been carried out; in what years that research commenced; what significant medical advances were made by the research; and in which other countries such hybrids have been described as human admixed embryos. [HL2810]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The Government are not aware of any published research into the creation of embryos using human and animal gametes where such embryos have gestated beyond the two-cell stage. We are not aware of any country referring to such embryos as human admixed embryos.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 19 March (WA 44), whether outgrowing embryos lie outside the remit of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority if they have ceased to be human embryos; and why every embryo in British laboratories that has been cultured for more than 14 days lacks any relationship between the trophectoderm and the inner cell mass. [HL2811]
Lord Darzi of Denham: Once an embryo ceases to be a live human embryo it falls outside the regulatory remit of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. It is the intrinsic nature of cell masses
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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 19 March (WA 44), how the necessary organisational structure of a viable embryo has been determined on the basis of empirical studies of primate embryos; and whether they will place in the Library of the House a list of references to all peer-reviewed research papers which support the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's decision on this matter. [HL2812]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority came to the conclusions on outgrowing embryos after taking account of the views of a range of scientific and clinical experts. Studies in the 1970s demonstrated that on a collagen surface the inner cell mass retains its 3D structure while on plastic it becomes completely flat. It was concluded that the retention of a 3D structure is key to its continuing to develop normally and form a recognisable embryo in vitro.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 31 March (WA 133), why the Department of Health does not collect detailed information on therapies and clinical trials involving adult stem cells or embryonic stem cells; and whether collation of such information would be an appropriate use of public funds by the Medical Research Council and the National Health Service. [HL2971]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The department does not systematically collate information on therapies or clinical trials based on the distinction between any one source of starting material. The Government have stated that they will fund stem cell research irrespective of the source of the stem cells.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) has information on the clinical trials it funds; for example on the treatment of leukaemias and other blood cancers involving the transplant of adult (bone marrow) stem cells. However, it is not within the MRC's remit to collect detailed information on therapies and clinical trials involving adult stem cells or embryonic stem cells.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 31 March (WA 13233), whether any member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority who has been part of a committee making licensing decisions regarding nuclear transfer has ever expressed views in favour
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Lord Darzi of Denham: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised the department that it is not aware of any views expressed in favour of human reproductive cloning by members of the authority's research licence committee.
Lay summaries of research proposals submitted to the HFEA are placed on its website with an invitation to the public to submit comments. All comments received by the HFEA, including those from people opposed to the creation of embryos by cell nuclear replacement for research purposes, are considered by the research licence committee before making its decisions.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 November 2007 (Official Report, 29/11/07;col. WA 131) and 3 December 2007 (Official Report, 3/12/07, col. WA 159) regarding the need for fully informed consent on the part of women donating eggs for research, how many eggs were stated to be required to ensure that the chance of pregnancy is not reduced according to patient information and consent forms approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority; and how these documents reflect the corresponding overall incidence of hospitalisation described in the journal Human Fertility (volume 10, issue 3, pages 18387). [HL3075]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The department has been informed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that it does not produce guidance on the number of eggs required to ensure that the chance of pregnancy is not reduced in an egg-sharing arrangement. That is a matter for individual clinical judgement. However, the HFEA's code of practice states that clinics should ensure that the treatment offered is the most suitable available to satisfy the needs of the egg provider and recipient(s).
The HFEA also expects that, before treatment begins, women should be given information on, among other things, a description of how the clinic proposes to determine the allocation of eggs between provider and recipient(s) and the possible side-effects and risks of treatment, including ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
How the Medical Research Council's request for applications before 19 March in order to catch up with induced pluripotent stem cell technology reflects the current position of stem cell research in the United Kingdom relative to global competitors; and how this compares with the merits of interspecies nuclear transfer, as recently publicised on 1 April in advance of peer review. [HL3006]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Medical Research Council (MRC) supports research into all approaches to harness the potential of stem cells to treat human disease and believes that the discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells is a major breakthrough in stem cell research. This technology is at a very early stage and, although there has been proof of principle, many questions remain unanswered.
Research into iPS cells is being pursued in many laboratories around the globe, following the original demonstration of this technology in mouse in 2006 and in human cells in 2007. UK researchers are well placed to utilise this technology, and the recent joint MRC/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) call for proposals aims to promote the development of human iPS cells towards application. Comparative studies with human embryonic stem cells will be key to understanding the full potential of this technology.
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