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Switzerland has a long tradition of performing research on adult stem cells, and hematopoietic cells in particular. However, since 1998, when human embryonic stem cells (ESC) were derived from donated in vitro-fertilized (IVF) spare embryos, Switzerland has seen much debate over the hope promised by such cells and the ethics of using them. In 2003, the Stem Cell Research Act, which was approved by popular vote in November 2004 and came into force in 2005, allows Swiss researchers to either derive or import human ES cell lines. Several groups are conducting research projects on ethically approved scientific questions not pursuable through other means under licenses granted by the Federal Office of Public Health.

Even though the 2003 act legalized the use of human embryonic stem cells, ...

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