May 1, 2002


Experiment bypasses cloning, stem cells (MAGGIE FOX, May 01, 2002, REUTERS)
Scientists said yesterday they had transformed ordinary human skin cells into immune cells in an experiment that, if it can be repeated, might do away with the need for either stem cells or cloning for many medical therapies.

The team at biotech start-up Nucleotech LLC hopes to be able to offer patients grow-your-own transplants that could theoretically be used to treat diseases such as immune deficiencies and juvenile diabetes.

Many teams are working on the idea, but nearly all had assumed the need for stem cells, the body's master cells, which are elusive and difficult to grow in the lab. They can be found in blood and tissue, or can be taken from embryos -- usually obtained from fertility clinics.

Such stem cells could also theoretically be made using cloning technology -- something highly controversial and the subject of competing legislation in Congress. President Bush supports a ban on the use of cloning technology involving humans.

But James Robl, Philippe Collas and colleagues at Nucleotech and the University of Oslo believe they have found a way around the controversy.

So here's the $64k Question : now will the clonophiles support a ban, since we can reap the same benefits without violating Western moral standards, or are they really more interested in the power than in its supposed purposes? Posted by Orrin Judd at May 1, 2002 2:53 PM
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