LONDON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A British biotech company says it will use stem cells from an aborted fetus to test the regeneration of nerve cells in stroke victims.
ReNeuron, located in Surrey, has received permission from national health officials to inject millions of cells from a 12-week-old aborted fetus into the brains of stroke victims in a two-year trial beginning next year, the Daily Mail reported Monday.
ReNeuron, whose request for a similar study in the United States was rejected, said such stem cell therapy is the only way to repair the damage caused when a stroke starves the brain of oxygen.
ReNeuron said it can produce all the cells it ever needs from one fetus.
Fetal cells, which are more adaptable than adult cells, provide the best hope of regenerating nerve cells for stroke patients who otherwise could not regain movement and mental skills, the company said.
Anti-abortion groups have joined with Britain's Comment On Reproductive Ethics to condemn the use of an aborted fetus for the research.
An estimated 250,000 people in Britain are severely disabled from strokes.