[Paleopsych] AP: Britain grants cloning license
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Thu Aug 12 13:07:35 UTC 2004
Britain grants cloning license
Posted on Thu, Aug. 12, 2004
Project goal to make insulin-producing cells
By Emma Ross
LONDON - Britain granted its first license for human cloning
yesterday, joining South Korea on the leading edge of stem-cell
research, which is restricted by the Bush administration but which
many scientists think might lead to new treatments for a range of
The British license went to Newcastle University researchers who hope
eventually to create insulin-producing cells that could be
transplanted into diabetics.
South Korean scientists announced in February they had cloned an
embryo and extracted its stem cells.
Many scientists think stem cells hold vast promise for treating an
array of diseases from diabetes to Parkinson's. Stem cells can grow
into any type of human tissue, and scientists hope to be able to
direct the blank cells to grow into specific cell types needed for
Stem cells can be found in adults, but scientists think they might not
be as versatile as those found in embryos. They envision using cloning
to create an embryo from a patient so that stem cells extracted would
be a perfect transplant match.
"Therapeutic cloning will, in the immediate future, be a vital tool in
harnessing the power of stem cells to treat some of the major diseases
which threaten humankind," John Harris, professor of bioethics at the
University of Manchester, said after the license was announced. "This
decision is a signal of our society's compassion and concern for those
threatened by disease."
Britain's ProLife Party lamented the decision and said it was
considering whether it could sue.
Regulations on cloning and stem-cell research vary around the world.
Britain is the only European country that licenses cloning for
stem-cell research and three years ago was the first in the world to
do so when Parliament voted to allow regulators to license the method
for stem-cell research.
South Korea followed in December. Countries such as Sweden and Japan
are expected to pass similar legislation soon.
This year, the United Nations will reconsider whether to propose an
international treaty to ban "therapeutic" cloning -- which produces
stem cells from cloned embryos -- as well as "reproductive" cloning,
which makes babies.
The Bush administration forbids federal funding for research on
embryonic stem-cell lines created after Aug. 9, 2001. It also forbids
federal funding of all cloning research.
Lexington Herald-Leader and wire service sources.
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