ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
12 February 2003


"Genewatch UK said scientists in New Zealand who cloned the cows had embarked on an inhumane and unecessary experiment." (item 3)

2.Govt fast tracking GE medicines in case of bio-attack
3.Watchdog condemns GM milk
4.RS backs nukes - url



"A public-relations firm is dealing with a public-relations nightmare after unintentionally e-mailing journalists and others documents about one of its clients, Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics. The mass e-mail from Shepardson Stern + Kaminsky on Wednesday revealed the candid views of Cell Therapeutics managers and outside analysts on the strengths and weaknesses of the biotechnology company.

SS+K asserts that the message was sent out as the result of a computer virus. The report, a summary of interviews conducted by SS+K, cites 'skepticism' and 'outright cynicism' about Cell Therapeutics from both within and outside the biotech firm.

The company's chief drug in development, Xyotax, an anti-cancer drug, 'risks being over-hyped and overpromised,' the report says. Additionally, it says, the clinical division of Cell Therapeutics, which tests drugs on humans, 'has failed in the past and not yet addressed the root causes of that failure.' ...

Hours after the report was dispatched, SS+K sent another e-mail warning recipients to delete the earlier one without opening it. 'An email sent from my mailbox earlier today contains a serious virus and should not be opened, said the message from SS+K employee Susan Pierson Brown."
SOURCE: Seattle Times, February 1, 2003
More web links related to this story are available at:


2.Govt fast tracking GE medicines in case of bio-attack

12 February 2003
nzpa, New Zealand,2106,2258876a11,00.html

The Government is speeding up the approval of animal and human medicines, vaccines and pesticides containing genetically engineered organisms or hazardous substances, to counter emergencies such as a bioterrorist attack. Normally, these would go be fully assessed by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma), including public notification and consultation, which could take four weeks.

"We have a problem, that if we have an emergency and the most suitable medicine or vet medicine is one involving a genetically modified has to go through quite a long public process," Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

The new fast-track system would allow decisions to import products without detailed information or full formal processes.

Ms Hobbs said experts would have to weigh up the relative risks and benefits at the time.  Once the emergency was over a normal application would need to be made for the medicine, vaccine or pesticide to be used again.

"This is a vital area for New Zealand, especially in a world where bioterrorism has become a real threat and where the disease-free status of our livestock is vital for our valuable export markets," she said in a statement.

Ms Hobbs said government officials had rejected the July 2001 recommendation of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification that medicines that might be needed in an animal or human health emergency be identified in advance and given prior approvals before any emergency arose.

"Government officials have thoroughly investigated that approach and found it is not possible," she said.

"There would be nothing to guarantee that a particular product would be available when needed, while giving pre-approvals to a vaccine for a disease like foot-and-mouth could raise questions in our overseas markets about New Zealand's disease-free status."

Ms Hobbs said the Government was also changing the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act to streamline approvals for new medicines made from, or containing genetically engineered organisms.

Current laws require the medicines' safety, quality and effectiveness to be approved by Medsafe (for human medicines) or the agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines unit of the Food Safety Authority (in the case of animal products) and by Erma for risks to the health and safety of people and the environment.

In future Erma could delegate the approval of medicines that met a set of criteria for "low risk" to Medsafe or the FSA unit alone. Medicines containing new organisms that did not fit the "low-risk" criteria would still require full ERMA approval, including public consultation. ---


3.Watchdog condemns GM milk

Source: FWi 27 January 2003
BY Farmers Weekly staff

AN INDEPENDENT watchdog has condemned the creation of cloned GM cattle with altered milk composition to produce cheese.

Genewatch UK said scientists in New Zealand who cloned the cows had embarked on an inhumane and unecessary experiment.

Researchers led by Dr Gotz Laible at AgResearch in Hamilton cloned and genetically modified the cattle to alter the protein composition of milk.

The intention was to improve the processing and nutritional qualities of milk.

But GeneWatch UK said it was worrying that half of the calves born from GM cloned embryos died before weaning.

And it disputed claims that the experiment could lead to potentially large economic benefits for the dairy industry.

"This research is driven by a desire to industrialise animals in a completely unjustfiable way," said Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK's Director.

"Making milk processing easier for cheese or other products to increase profits cannot legitimise suffering on this scale".

Dr Mayer said it was possible that the animals which survived would show other harmful effects on their health will be seen as they aged.

GeneWatch UK has called for a ban on all GM and cloning of animals for use in agriculture.


4.RS supports nukes - url

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