Therapeutic Cloning to harvest stem cells OK in UK

The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA was set up in August 1991 as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) has issued the first license to allow therapeutic cloning in Britain. The license, issued to the Newcastle Centre for Life, allows the creation of human embryonic stem cells using cell nuclear transfer. Stem cells created under this licence will be used for research purposes only.

After stem cell extraction, the embryo is destroyed but it is my belief that a bunch of 100 cells does not a human being make. The HFEA is to be congratulated for allowing this research which many countries have legislated against.

The purpose of this research is to increase knowledge about the development of embryos and enable this knowledge to be applied in developing treatments for serious disease. This research is preliminary, it is not aimed at specific illnesses, but is the foundation for further development in the treatment of serious disease.

The cloning technique, cell nuclear replacement (CNR) involves removing the nucleus of a human egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus from a human body cell, such as a skin cell. The egg is then artificially stimulated. This causes the egg to divide and behave in a similar way to a standard embryo fertilised by sperm.

The move has been denounced by 'pro life' campaigners such as LIFE’s National Chairman, Professor Jack Scarisbrick who said, "This is manipulation, exploitation and trivialisation of human life of a frightening kind. Of course we are told that this therapeutic cloning, as it is called, will open the way to curing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases. But we have heard those promises so often before – and anyway, the end does not justify the means."

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children were even more rabid in their nonsense-mongering, "Like other areas of embryo experimentation, human cloning is likely to produce none of the promised medical benefits, but it will lead to the birth of cloned babies - possibly on a vast scale."

Posted by Paul in Ethics Politics at August 12, 2004 03:47 AM | 0 Comments