Blair stands up to Bush on stem-cell research

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair is to set himself against George Bush as he seeks to promote stem-cell research in both Britain and the US.

Less than two weeks after the President banned federal funding for research on embryonic cells, Mr Blair will champion the science during his visit to California this week.

Supporters of the research say it has huge potential to generate new treatments for medical conditions, and some applications are already under development. California is one of only a few US states to fund work on stem-cell lines grown from embryos, making it a magnet for researchers.

Mr Blair is keen to promote co-operation between California and the UK over the issue, in defiance of opposition from a largely religious opposition led by Mr Bush.

The Prime Minister will meet the chiefs of West Coast biotech firms tomorrow to show his support for increased investment.