EU to finance human stem cell research

Rival amendments from groups of mainly German and Polish parliamentarians had sought to outlaw the use of EU funds for human stem cell research or to substantially limit such funding.

The measure that passed comes with strict conditions. EU funds may not be used for research into human cloning for reproductive purposes, modification of genetic heritage of human beings and experiments creating human embryos solely for the purpose of research.

Cells taken from human embryos are uniquely versatile, and many hope that one day they could help treat Alzheimer's, type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other health problems.

Under the amendment's rules, any application for funds must include details of the licensing and control measures taken by authorities in the particular member nation.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland had appealed to lawmakers to vote against the amendment. Roman Catholic teaching opposes scientific research on human embryonic stem cells.