News | News By Subject | News by Disease News By Date | Search News
Get Our FREE
Industry eNewsletter
email:    
   

UK Hears First European Human Cloning Application


10/19/2005 5:08:47 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's human cloning watchdog on Wednesday considers Europe's first application to clone a human embryo to obtain cells that could be used to treat otherwise incurable diseases.

Britain has rigid laws against reproductive cloning to produce designer babies, but does permit therapeutic cloning under strict conditions to battle illnesses like diabetes.

The outcome of the application, which is not expected to be decided this week, is set to reignite the intense debate over the ethics of human cloning.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) will be considering an application from Newcastle University's Institute of Human Genetics to make a clone to produce insulin.

The university's Professor Alison Murdoch said the application was a first in Europe and could produce a medical miracle in the fight against disease that would not otherwise be possible.

But she also told BBC radio that even if given the go-ahead in the near future it could be a decade before any practical cure was available.

"We are trying to create material that would be genetically identical to the person that needs treatment," she said, stressing that her team was not attempting to produce cloned babies but collections of so-called stem cells that can divide into any tissue in the body.

"We are using the same sort of scientific techniques that the embryologists in the fertility centre here used to help couples achieve a pregnancy. "But we are using their scientific knowledge and the skills they have to create cures for serious diseases," she added.

But David King of the Human Genetics Alert campaign group said the technique was morally questionable and likely to be copied in countries lacking cloning legislation.

"If they develop the technology for cloning human embryos it is a present for those people who do want to clone babies," he told BBC radio. "Research gets published on the Internet and it could be used in a country that doesn't have any legislation."

"It does cross an important ethical line because what it does is create embryos purely for the purposes of research rather than using surplus embryos," he added.

An HFEA spokeswoman said no decision on the application was likely before next week at the earliest.

MeSH Headings: Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms : Behavioral Sciences : Behavioral Disciplines and Activities : Ethics : Ethics, Medical : Ethics, Professional : Genetic Techniques : Humanities : Investigative Techniques : Morals : Philosophy : Philosophy, Medical : Psychology : Psychology, Social : Reproduction Techniques : Health Care Quality, Access, and Evaluation : Cloning, Organism : Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment : Health Care : Humanities : Psychiatry and Psychology

Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


comments powered by Disqus
 
 

ADD TO DEL.ICIO.US    ADD TO DIGG    ADD TO FURL    ADD TO STUMBLEUPON    ADD TO TECHNORATI FAVORITES