Stem cell research

Overview of Alzheimer Europe's position

Alzheimer Europe's position on stem cell research is as follows:

  1. Alzheimer Europe and its member organisations welcome scientific research that will increase the understanding of the causes of dementia and that strives to find effective and affordable treatments to cure or at least halt the progression of the disease.
  2. Stem cell research may have the potential to find and develop such treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
  3. Alzheimer Europe and its member organisations therefore strongly support adult stem cell research and its funding through the European institutions.
  4. In the highly controversial and sensitive area of embryonic stem cell research, Alzheimer Europe is aware of and respects the many cultural, religious and individual positions within its member organisations.
  5. Alzheimer Europe also recognises the principle of subsidiarity and the right of individual Member States to find national solutions to such issues as abortion, in-vitro fertilisation and embryonic stem cell research.
  6. In the knowledge that supernumerary embryos created in the process of in-vitro fertilisation may end up being destroyed, Alzheimer Europe considers their use in embryonic stem cell research for the identification of treatments for the 5.8. million people with dementia in the European Union ethically acceptable given that the alternative would be their destruction, itself open to ethical questions. Alzheimer Europe therefore supports stem cell research with such supernumerary embryos and its funding through the European institutions in those countries where this is legal.
  7. Faced with the more controversial question of the therapeutic cloning of embryos, Alzheimer Europe is not in a position to adopt a consensual position due to the pronounced differences of opinion within its member organisations on the subject.
  8. Medicines for Alzheimer’s disease are approved through the centralised procedure at the European Medicines Agency and Alzheimer Europe supports the use of the centralised procedure also for products derived from stem cell research. Since Alzheimer Europe campaigns for equal access of people with dementia to treatments and services, it extends this principle also to future treatments derived from stem cell research. Individual countries should not have the possibility to restrict access to such treatments, but any such product should be clearly marked, allowing individual patients and carers to make informed decisions on whether they would like to benefit from treatments derived from stem cell research.