This is what some of the people who have worked with the Progress Educational Trust (PET) have to say about the charity.
'When asked about the ethical regulation of science, I once said "ignorance and prejudice should not be allowed to dictate the outcome". The remarkable ability of the Progress Educational Trust to bring together experts from medical, ethical, legal and religious backgrounds, as well as its ability to anticipate key issues, ensures that the public and policymakers are kept up-to-date with ethical debate. As an independent body capable of drawing on all this expertise, PET has established itself as a provider of high quality, thorough and objective analysis.'
Baroness Mary Warnock DBE
'We are fortunate to have PET. For everyone with an interest in genetics and reproductive issues, it has provided a forum for well informed debate, and it has been a clear, intelligent voice in the discussion of topics on which strong and opposing views are held. I look forward to each issue of BioNews as a valuable guide to news and recent developments and wish it well for the next 21 years.'
Baroness Ruth Deech QC (Hon) Chair, Bar Standards Board and former chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
'For over two decades PET has consistently provided rationality, sound knowledge and perspective to debates on human genetics. Working with complex and sensitive issues, PET does a brilliant job of ensuring balanced and measured information is available to all.'
Sir John Burn, Professor of Clinical Genetics, Newcastle University and Chair of the British Society for Genetic Medicine
'Ever since the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, advances in stem cell science, genetics and medicine have given us more and more control over our reproductive destiny. Such capabilities must however, be put into their proper scientific, ethical, cultural, legal and policy context to strike the right balance between risks and benefits, without hype, exaggeration or fear-mongering. Since it was established, PET has played a vital role in informing the public debate. Long may it prosper!'
'Both as a journalist covering reproductive medicine and genetics, and as a communications manager working on biomedical science issues at the Wellcome Trust, I have always found the Progress Educational Trust makes valuable contributions to important debates. Whether it is curating information via BioNews, organising thought-provoking public events, or providing essential public advocacy, I hope PET will continue its good work for another 21 years.'
'PET has consistently been a beacon of rationality and good sense in the often-confused debates surrounding human reproduction. It is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects and is adept at framing the discussion of these even when they involve issues of personal and community sensitivity such as cousin marriage, race and mental health. It is to PET's great credit that these topics can be discussed so openly and freely. The professionalism and sensitivity with which they approach each subject is excellent.'
'In helping people to understand what is occurring at the cutting edge of science – and the ethical implications therein – and in providing a platform where a whole range of views can be discussed, PET and BioNews provide a unique service which is undoubtedly of great benefit to both the stem cell community and the public.'
Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing, University College London and Trustee, UK Stem Cell Foundation
'PET has proved to be at the cutting edge of medical ethics, with a remarkable ability not only to focus on the key issues ahead of us, but also to draw together experts from an exciting range of medical, ethical and religious backgrounds who can bring a multidisciplinary approach to bear on those issues.'
'Antenatal Results and Choices supports parents throughout prenatal testing and its aftermath, and we greatly appreciate the work of PET. Its staff do an excellent job of enabling and promoting measured and balanced public debate of the complex and sensitive issues facing expectant parents in the 21st century.'
Jane Fisher (Director of Antenatal Results and Choices)
'PET is an organisation worthy of the name 'Progress'. Its staff are unstinting in their commitment to ensuring that issues of the day are both identified and debated. A range of views are given space on their conference platforms and through their publications, in the spirit of encouraging open debate. BioNews is one of the most important communications in the field, offering up-to-the-minute information and comment from a wide range of sources.'
'PET organised an important debate about deaf people and genetics - Debating Deafness and Embryo Selection: Are We Undermining Reproductive Confidence in the Deaf Community? - at a time when the UK government was introducing legislation that would have a direct impact on the deaf community, who had not been informed or consulted. The debate enabled the deaf community to become more aware of the issues. PET was also instrumental in organising meetings between representatives of the deaf community and the Department of Health on this issue. Important media attention was also gained as a result of the involvement of PET.'
'It is good to have the work of PET helping people to understand what is happening at the cutting edge of science, and encouraging people to think seriously about the ethical dimension of this progress.'
'BioNews is an indispensable source of information on human genetics and assisted reproduction. Up-to-date facts, thought provoking debates and stimulating commentaries make it essential reading for anyone involved with or interested in this field. A superb resource, BioNews is a gem which is all too easily taken for granted. Becoming a Friend of PET and encouraging others to do likewise will ensure that BioNews continues.'
'I would like to commend the Progress Educational Trust on the reputation it has established for informing public debate on controversial subjects such as human embryonic stem cell research, the future of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and mitochondrial replacement. It is important that these highly sensitive debates, which help in the consideration of policy, take place not just within Government but also independently of Government.
I hope that PET will continue to stimulate debate about bioethics and related legal and social issues, as advances in science continue to challenge both policymakers and the public.'
Anna Soubry, Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for public health
'PET provides an invaluable, independent forum for the discussion of topics central to the application of genetics in medicine. In many cases, issues are involved that are of personal and community sensitivity. Having been involved in one such debate - Cousin Marriage: A Cause for Concern? - I was impressed by the even-handed and professional manner in which the subject was approached, and by the opportunities available for invited contributors and members of the audience to freely express their opinions and concerns. In addressing such subjects, PET is a significant contributor to healthy and informed discourse within UK society.'
A brochure about PET and its activities can be downloaded here (.pdf 329KB).
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