Stem cell research has raised hopes for future treatment with cell transplantation therapy. This treatment could be offered to people with many different serious chronic diseases caused by the degeneration of cells, such as in the case of diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.
"Human stem cell research with the potential of cell transplantation is presently the most promising approach to achieving this goal for type 1 diabetes."
Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer
Research using human embryonic stem cells has triggered an important ethical debate because the embryos from which the stem cells are derived hold the potential for a human life. Furthermore, large differences exist between countries with regard to the legislation and control of research on human embryonic stem cells.
Novo Nordisk acknowledges and respects that new research areas involving ethical dilemmas need to be thoroughly discussed in society. We would like to contribute to an open dialogue and ethical and political clarification regarding the use of human embryonic stem cells. In addition, Novo Nordisk continuously follows scientific breakthroughs within stem cell research that may present alternatives to human embryonic stem cells.
In 2001 Novo Nordisk established a focus group to explore the ethical dilemmas of stem cell research. Based on the group’s findings, we made our decisions, weighing the benefits to patients and society along with threats to our values and fundamental ethical principles. We developed Novo Nordisk's position, held employee meetings and press conferences, and participated in public hearings and debates. In 2003 the Danish Parliament passed a law which allows the use of human embryonic stem cells in the research and development of new pharmaceuticals and cures for patients. Novo Nordisk has maintained the focus on the ethical dilemmas related to stem cell research and continues to participate in the ethical deliberation internationally.