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BIONET project launches in China

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LSE, in partnership with 21 European and Chinese institutions, has launched the first event, in China, of the three year BIONET project.

The BIONET project, funded under the EU's 6th Framework Programme, examines the challenges facing the ethical governance of research in the life sciences and biomedicine in China and the EU.

The initial scientific focus of BIONET is on issues in biomedicine, in particular new reproductive technologies, stem cells, genomic research on disease susceptibility and pharmacogenomics, and biobanking. The initial bioethical focus is on informed consent, benefit sharing and intellectual property, data protection and ethical standards for the conduct, review and evaluation of biomedical research.

The first event is a five day workshop hosted at Peking University in Beijing from 1-5 April. The title of the workshop is Informed Consent in Reproductive Genetics and Stem Cell Technology and the role of Ethical Review Boards. There are currently more than 88 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) centres and 10 sperm banks in China (as of December 2006). Compared to other biomedical technologies, ART is relatively mature in China, although its increasing use in recent years has raised a number of issues, not only as concerns informed consent, but also issues of informed choice and the role of ethical review committees. Participants in the workshop include academics, ethicists, clinicians, lawyers and policy makers from China and Europe. The programme also involves site visits to local hospitals engaged in ART.

The programme director of the BIONET project, Professor Nikolas Rose, director of LSE's research centre BIOS, said: 'We are delighted with the start of the BIONET project. I am particularly pleased with the level of participation that we are having over the five days of the workshop. The discussions are very lively, bringing together a broad range of senior people in academia, government, lawyers, and clinicians. We have also had participation from patients as well, listening to their views on ART. All the members of BIONET are looking forward to the next three years of collaborative research and the dissemination of this work.'


Contacts Professor Nikolas Rose at email: n.rose@lse.ac.uk or Dr Ayo Wahlberg at a.j.wahlberg@lse.ac.uk 

Contact for China projects is Dr Brendan Smith at email: b.p.smith1@lse.ac.uk 

For BIONET project, see http://www.bionet-china.org/ 

Press cuttings

Chinese Radio International (20 May)
An interview with two academics involved in the LSE-led ethics project BIONET.

4 April 2007